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By the same author 




the old man and the sea 

A V Ws'A 








In view of a recent tendency to identify characters 
in fiction with real people, it seems proper to state 
that there are no real people in this volume: both the 
characters and their names are fictitious. If the 
name of any living person has been used, the use 
was purely accidental. 





You know how it is there early in the morning in 
Havana with the bums still asleep against the walls 
of the buildings; before even the ice wagons come by 
with ice for the bars? Well, we came across the 
square from the dock to the Pearl of San Francisco 
Cafe to get coffee and there was only one beggar 
awake in the square and he was getting a drink out 
of the fountain. But when we got inside the cafe 
and sat down, there were the three of them waiting 
for us. 

We sat down and one of them came over. 

‘Well? 5 he said, 

‘I can’t do it, 5 I told him. Td like to do it as a 
favour. But 1 told you last night I couldn’t. 5 

4 You can name your own price. 5 

Tt isn’t that. I can’t do it. That’s all. 5 

The two others had come over and they stood 
there looking sad. They were nice-looking fellows 
all right and I would have liked to have done them 
the favour. 

‘A thousand apiece,’ said the one who spoke good 

‘Don’t make me feel bad,’ I told him. T tell you 
true I can’t do it.’ 

‘Afterwards, when things are changed, it would 
mean a good deal to you.’ 

9 . 


‘I know it. I’m all for you. But I can’t do it.’ 

Why not?’ 

e I make my living with the boat. If I lose her I 
lose my living. 5 

With the money you buy another boat.’ 

‘Not in jail.’ 

They must have thought I just needed to be 
argued into it because the one kept on. 

‘You would have three thousand dollars and it 
could mean a great deal to you later. All this will 
not last, you know.’ 

‘Listen,’ I said. ‘I don’t care who is President here. 
But I don’t carry anything to the States that can 
talk.’ . 

‘You mean we would talk?’ one of them who 
hadn’t spoke said. He was angry. 

‘I said anything that can talk.’ 

‘Do you think we are lenguas largas?’ 


‘Do you know what a lengua larga is?’ 

‘Yes. One with a long tongue.’ 

‘Do you know what we do with them?’ 

‘Don’t be tough with me,’ I said. ‘You 
propositioned me. I didn’t offer you any¬ 

Shut up, Pancho,’ the one who had done the 
talking before said to the angry one. 

‘He said we would talk,’ Pancho said. 

Listen, I said. ‘I told you I didn’t carry any¬ 
thing that can talk. Sacked liquor can’t talk. 

■ io ■ 


Demijohns can’t talk. There’s other things that 
can’t talk. Men can talk.’ 

^Can Chinamen talk?’ Pancho said, pretty nasty. 

‘They can talk but I can’t understand them,’ I 
told him. 

‘So you won’t?’ 

‘It’s just like I told you last night. I can’t.’ 

‘But you won’t talk?’ Pancho said. ' 

The one thing that he hadn’t understood right 
had made him nasty. I guess it was disappointment, 
too. I didn’t even answer him. 

‘You’re not a lengua larga, are you?’ he asked, 
still nasty. 

‘I don’t think so.’ 

‘What’s that? A threat?’ 

Listen,’ I told him. ‘Don’t be so tough so early 
in the morning. I’m sure you’ve cut plenty people’s 
throats. I haven’t even had my coffee yet.’ 

‘So you’re sure I’ve cut people’s throats?’ 

‘No,’ I said. ‘And I don’t give a damn. Can’t 
you do business without getting angry?’ 

‘I am angry now,’ he said. T would like to kill 

‘Oh, hell,’ I told him. ‘Don’t talk so much.’ 

‘Come on, Pancho,’ the first one said. Then, to 
me, ‘I am very sorry. I wish you would take us.’ 

‘I’m sorry, too. But I can’t.’ 

The three of them started for the door, and I 
watched them go. They were good-looking young 
fellows, wore good clothes; none of them wore hats, 


and they looked like they had plenty of money. They 
talked plenty of money, anyway, and they spoke the 
kind of English Cubans with money speak. 

Two of them looked like brothers and the othei; 
one, Pancho, was a little taller but the same sort of 
looking kid. You know, slim, good clothes, and 
shiny hair. I didn’t figure he was as mean as he 
talked. I figured he was plenty nervous. 

As they turned out of the door to the right, I saw 
a closed car come across the square toward them. 
The first thing a pane of glass went and the bullet 
smashed into the row of bottles on the show-case 
wall to the right. I heard the gun going and, bop, bop, 
bop, there were bottles smashing all along the wall. 

I jumped behind the bar on the left side and could 
see looking over the edge. The car was stopped and 
there were two fellows crouched down by it. One 
had a Thompson gun and the other had a sawed-off 
automatic shotgun. The one with the Thompson 
gun was a nigger. The other had a chauffeur’s 
white overall on. 

One of the boys was spread out on the sidewalk, 
face down, just outside the big window that was 
smashed. The other two were behind one of the 
Tropical beer ice wagons that was stopped in front 
of the Cunard bar next door. One of the ice-wagon 
horses was down in the harness, kicking, and the 

other was plunging his head off 

One of the boys shot from the rear corner of the 
wagon and it ricocheted off the sidewalk. The nigger 



with the Tommy gun got his face almost into the 
street and gave the back of the wagon a burst from 
underneath and sure enough one came down, falling 
toward the sidewalk with his head above the kerb. 
He flopped there, putting his hands over his head, 
and the chauffeur shot at him with the shotgun while 
the nigger put in a fresh pan; but it was a long shot. 
You could see the buckshot marks all over the side¬ 
walk like silver splatters. 

The other fellow pulled the one who was hit back 
by the legs to behind the wagon, and I saw the 
nigger getting his face down on the paving to give 
them another burst. Then I saw old Pancho come 
around the corner of the wagon and step into the lee 
of the horse that was still up. He stepped clear of the 
horse, his face white as a dirty sheet, and got the 
chauffeur with the big Luger he had; holding it in 
both hands to keep it steady. He shot twice over the 
nigger’s head, coming on, and once low. 

He hit a tyre on the car because I saw dust blow¬ 
ing in a spurt on the street as the air came out, and 
at ten feet the nigger shot him in the belly with the 
Tommy gun, with what must have been the last 
shot in it because I saw him throw it down, and old 
Pancho sat down hard and went over forwards. He 
was trying to come up, still holding on to the Luger, 
only he couldn’t get his head up, when the nigger 
took the shotgun that was lying against the wheel of 
the car by the chauffeur and blew the side of his 
head off. Some nigger. 



I took a quick one out of the first bottle I saw open 
and I couldn’t tell you yet what it was. The whole 
thing made me feel pretty bad. I slipped along be¬ 
hind the bar and out through the back kitchen 
and all the way out. I went clean around the out¬ 
side of the square and never even looked over to¬ 
ward the crowd there was coming fast in front of the 
cafe and went in through the gate and out on to the 
dock and got on board. 

The fellow who had her chartered was on board 
waiting. I told him what had happened. 

‘Where’s Eddy?’ this fellow Johnson that had us 
chartered asked me. 

‘I never saw him after the shooting started.’ 

‘Do you suppose he was hit?’ 

‘Hell, no. I tell you the only shots that came in 
the cafe were into the show-case. That was when the 
car was coming behind them. That was when they 
shot the first fellow right in front of the window. 
They came at an angle like this . . .’ 

‘You seem awfully sure about it,’ he said. 

‘I was watching,’I told him. 

Then, as I looked up, I saw Eddy coming along 
the dock looking taller and sloppier than ever. He 
walked with his joints all slung wrong. 

‘There he is.’ 

Eddy looked pretty bad . He never looked too good 
early in the morning; but he looked pretty bad now. 

Where were you?’ I asked him. 

‘On the floor.’ 



‘Did you see it?’ Johnson asked him. 

‘Don’t talk about it, Mr. Johnson,’ Eddy said to 
him. ‘It makes me sick to even think about it. 5 

‘You better have a drink , 5 Johnson told him. 
Then he said to me, ‘Well, are we going out?’ 
‘That’s up to you.’ 

‘What sort of a day will it be?’ 

‘Just about like yesterday. Maybe better.’ 

‘Let’s get out, then.’ 

‘All right, as soon as the bait comes.’ 

We’d had this bird out three weeks fishing the 
stream and I hadn’t seen any of his money yet except 
one hundred dollars he gave me to pay the consul, 
and clear, and get some grub, and put gas in her be¬ 
fore we came across. I was furnishing all the tackle 
and he had her chartered at thirty-five dollars a day. 
He slept at an hotel and came aboard every morning. 
Eddy got me the charter so I had to carry him. I 
was giving him four dollars a day. 

‘I’ve got to put gas in her,’ I told Johnson. 

‘All right.’ 

‘I’ll need some money for that.’ 

‘How much?’ 

‘It’s twenty-eight cents a gallon. I ought to put 
in forty gallons anyway. That’s eleven-twenty.’ 

He got out fifteen dollars. 

‘Do you want to put the rest on the beer and the 
ice?’ I asked him. 

‘That’s fine,’ he said. ‘Just put it down against 

what I owe you.’ 



I was thinking three weeks was a long time to let 
him go, but if he was good for it what difference was 
there? He should have paid every week anyway. 
But I’ve let them run a month and got the money. It 
was my fault but I was glad to see it run at first. It 
was only the last few days he made me nervous but I 
didn’t want to say anything for fear of getting him 
plugged at me. If he was good for it, the longer he 
went the better. 

box^ aVC 3 b ° ttIe of beer? ’ he asked me, opening the 
‘No, thanks.’ 

Just then this nigger we had getting bait comes 

her W off he d ° Ck and 1 t0ld Eddy t0 gCt ready to cast 

The nigger came on board with the bait and we 
cast off and started out of the harbour, the nigger 
fixing on a couple of mackerel; passing the hook 
through their mouth, out the gills, slitting the side 
and then putting the hook through the other side 
Md out, tying the mouth shut on the wire leader 
and tying the hook good so it couldn’t slip and so the 
bait would troll smooth without spinning. 

^ He’s areal black nigger, smart and gloomy, with 
blue voodoo beads around his neck under his shirt 

was sk^, and 1 T h! Uked t0 do on board 

S S p wX he papra ' But he put » • ■*» 

°“ a bait m **““• “PfrW John- 


‘Yes, sir. 5 

‘Why do you carry a nigger to do it? 5 

‘When the big fish run you’ll see, 5 I told him. 

‘What’s the idea? 5 

'The nigger can do it faster than I can. 5 

‘Can’t Eddy do it? 5 

‘No, sir . 5 

‘It seems an unnecessary expense to me.’ He’d 
been giving the nigger a dollar a day and the nigger 
had been on a rumba every night. I could see him 
getting sleepy already. 

‘He’s necessary,’ I said. 

By then we had passed the smacks with their fish 
cars anchored in front of Cabanas and the skiffs 
anchored fishing for mutton fish on the rock bottom 
by the Morro, and I headed her out where the gulf 
made a dark line. Eddy put the two big teasers out 
and the nigger had baits on three rods. 

The stream was in almost to soundings and as we 
came toward the edge you could see her running 
nearly purple with regular whirlpools. There was a 
light east breeze coming up and we put up plenty of 
flying fish, those big ones with the black wings that 
look like the picture of Lindbergh crossing the 
Atlantic when they sail off. 

Those big flying fish are the best sign there is. As 
far as you could see, there was that faded yellow gulf- 
weed in small patches that means the main stream is 
well in and there were birds ahead working over a 
school of little tuna. You could see them jumping; 

B 17 


just little ones weighing a couple of pounds apiece. 
Tut out any time you want/ I told Johnson. 

He put on his belt and his harness and put out the 
big rod with the Hardy reel with six hundred yards 
of thirty-six thread. I looked back and his bait was 
trolling nice, just bouncing along on the swell, and 
the two teasers were diving and jumping. We were 
going just about the right speed and I headed her 
into the stream. 

‘Keep the rod butt in the socket on the chair/ I 
told him. Then the rod won’t be as heavy. Keep 
the drag off so you can slack to him when he hits. If 
one ever hits with the drag on he’ll jerk you over¬ 

Every day I’d have to tell him the same thing, 
but I didn’t mind that. One out of fifty parties you 
get know how to fish. Then when they do know half 
the time they’re goofy and want to use line that isn’t 
strong enough to hold anything big. 

fi How does the day look?’ he asked me. 

Tt couldn’t be better/ I told him. It was a pretty 
day all right. 

I gave the nigger the wheel and told him to work 
along the edge of the stream to the eastward and 
went back to where Johnson was sitting watching his 
bait bouncing along. 

Want me to put out another rod?’ I asked him. 

T don’t think so/ he said. ‘I want to hook, fight, 
and land my fish myself, 

‘Good/ I said. ‘Do you want Eddy to put it 


out and hand it to you if one strikes so you can hook 
him? 5 

c No ? 5 he said. ‘I prefer to have only one rod out.’ 

‘All right. 5 

The nigger was still taking her out and I looked 
and saw he had seen a patch of flying fish burst out 
ahead and up the stream a little. Looking back, I 
could see Havana looking fine in the sun and a ship 
just coming out of the harbour past the Morro. 

I think you 5 re going to have a chance to fight one 
to-day, Mr. Johnson, 5 I told him. 

It’s about time/ he said. c How long have we 
been out? 5 

‘Three weeks to-day. 5 

‘That 5 s a long time to fish. 5 

They’re a funny fish/ I told him. They aren’t 
here until they come. But when they come there’s 
plenty of them. And they’ve always come. If they 
don’t come now they’re never coining. The moon 
is right. There’s a good stream and we’re going to 
have a good breeze.’ 

There were some small ones when we first came. 5 

Yes/ I said. ‘Like I told you. The small ones 
thin out and stop before the big ones come.’ 

‘You party-boat captains always have the same 
line. Either it’s too early or too late or the wind isn’t 
right or the moon is wrong. But you take the money 
just the same.’ 

‘Well/ I told him, ‘the hell of it is that it usually is 
too early or too late and plenty of time the wind is 



wrong. Then when you get a day that’s perfect 
you’re ashore without a party.’ 

‘But you think to-day’s a good day?’ 

‘Well,’ I told him, ‘I’ve had action enough for 
me already to-day. But I’d like to bet you’re going 
to have plenty.’ 

‘I hope so,’ he said. 

We settled down to troll. Eddy went forward and 
laid down. I was standing up watching for a tail to 
show. Every once in a while the nigger would doze 
off and I was watching him, too. I bet he had some 

‘Would you mind getting me a bottle of beer, 
captain? ’ Johnson as ked me. 

No, sir, I said, and I dug down in the ice to get 
him a cold one. 

‘Won’t you have one?’ he asked. 

No, sir,’I said. ‘I’ll wait till to-night.’ 

■ I opened the bottle and was reaching it toward 
him when I saw this big brown buggar with a spear 
on him longer than your arm burst head and 
shoulders out of the water and smash at that 
mackerel. He looked as big around as a saw log. 

Slack it to him!’ I yelled. 

‘He hasn’t got it,’Johnson said! 

‘Hold it, then.’ 

i l ?? me U P fr° m deep down and missed it. I 
Juiew he d turn and come for it again. 

‘Get ready to turn it loose to him the minute he 

grabs it. 



Then I saw him coming from behind under water. 
You could see his fins out wide like purple wings and 
the purple stripes across the brown. He came on like 
a submarine and his top fin came out and you could 
see it slice the water. Then he came right behind the 
bait and his spear came out too, sort of wagging, 
clean out of water. 

‘Let it go into his mouth/ I said. Johnson took 

his hand off the reel spool and it started to whiz and 
the old marlin turned and went down and I could. ^ 

see the whole length of him shine bright silver as *."T 

turned broadside and headed off fast toward shore. 

Tut on a little drag/ I said. "Not much. 5 

He screwed down on the drag. 

"Not too much/ I said. I could see the line slant 
up. "Shut her down hard and sock him/ I said. 
"You’ve got to sock him. He’s going to jump anyway/ 

Johnson screwed the drag down and came back 
on the rod. 

"Sock him!’ I told him. "Stick it into him. Hit 
him half a dozen times/ 

He hit him pretty hard a couple of times more, 
and then the rod bent double and the reel com¬ 
menced to screech and out he came, boom, in a long 
straight jump, shining silver in the sun and making 
a splash like throwing a horse off a cliff. 

"Ease up on the drag/ I told him. 

"He’s gone/ said Johnson. 

"The hell he is/ I told him. "Ease up on the drag 


B2-3 .<=fj 

He nr 



uld see the curve in the line and the next time 
hped he was astern and headed out to sea. 
he came out again and smashed the water 
and I could see he was hooked in the side of 
~~tmr-rnouth. The stripes showed clear on him. He 
was a fine fish, bright silver now, barred with purple, 
and as big around as a log. 
t He s gone,. Johnson said. The line was slack. 

Reel on him,’ I said. ‘He’s hooked good. Put 
her ahead with all the machine!’ I yelled to the 

r then once, twice, he came out stiff as a post, the 
whole, length of him jumping straight toward us, 
throwing the water high each time he landed. The 
me came taut and I saw he was headed inshore 
again and I could see he was turning 

t ,‘ No , w he>11 make his run,’ I said. ‘If he hooks up 

plenty onine™ Kcq> y ° Ur drag Ught There ’ s 

°u ld marlin beaded out to the nor’west like 
all the big ones go, and brother, did he hook up' 
He started jumpin g in those long lopes and every 

£ e 1 h7™ t bC ^ t SpCCd b ° at in a sea ‘ went 
atter him, keeping him on the quarter once I’d 
made « he ton j had ^ wheeI ^ “ 

ofSuddrn'r l “? h ’ S f? g light and recuJt All 

SSTiSM th ' *** - 



He s gone, I told him. The fish was still jumping 
and he went on jumping until he was out of sight. 
He was a fine fish all right. 

‘I can still feel him pull,’ Johnson said. 

‘That’s the weight of the line.’ 

‘I can hardly reel it. Maybe he’s dead.’ 

Look at him,’ I said. ‘He’s still jumping.’ You 
could see him out half a mile, still throwing spouts 
of water. 

I felt his drag. He had it screwed down tight. 
You couldn t pull out any line. It had to break. 

Didn’t I tell you to keep your drag light?’ 

‘But he kept taking out line.’ 

‘So what?’ 

‘So I tightened it.’ 

‘Listen,’ I told him. ‘If you don’t give them line 
when they hook up like that they break it. There 
isn t any line will hold them. When they want it 
you’ve got to give it to them. You have to keep a 
light drag. The market fishermen can’t hold them 
tight when they do that even with a harpoon line. 
What we have to do is to use the boat to chase them 
so they don t take it all when they make their run. 
After they make their run they’ll sound and you 
can tighten up the drag and get it back.’ 

Then ifit hadn’t broken I would have caught him?’ 

‘You’d have had a chance.’ 

‘He couldn’t have kept that up, could he?’ 

‘He can do plenty of other things. It isn’t until 
after he’s made his run that the fight starts.’ 



‘Weil, let’s catch one,’ he said. 

‘You have to reel that line in first,’ I told him. 

We d hooked that fish and lost him without 
waking Eddy up. Now old Eddy came back astern. 

‘What’s the matter?’ he said. 

Eddy was a good man on a boat once, before he 
got to be a rummy, but he isn’t any good now. 
I looked at him standing there tall and hollow¬ 
cheeked with his mouth loose and that white stuff 
in the corners of his eyes an 1 his hair all faded in 
the sun. I knew he woke up dead for a drink. 

‘You’d better drink a bottle of beer,’ I told him. 
He took one out of the box and drank it. 

‘Well, Mr. Johnson,’ he said, ‘I guess I better 
finish my nap. Much obliged for the beer, sir.’ 

‘ ome Eddy. The fish didn’t make any difference to 

Well, we hooked another one around noon and 
e jumped off. You could see the hook go thirty 
feet m the air when he threw it. 7 

( £ What did I do wrong then?* Johnson asked. 
( Nothmg,’I said. ‘He just threw it.’ 

. <Mr ‘ Johnson,’ said Eddy, who’d waked up to 
have another bottle of beer, ‘Mr. Johnson, you’re 
just unlucky. Now maybe you’re lucky with 
women. Mr. Johnson, what do you say we go out 

to-night?’ Then he went back and’hid '^own 

About four o’clock when we’re coming back close 
m to shore against the stream; it going like a mill 



race, us with the sun at our backs; the biggest black 
marlin I ever saw in my life hit Johnson’s bait. 
We’d put out a feather squid and caught four of 
those little tuna and the nigger put one on his hook 
for bait. It trolled pretty heavy but it made a big 
splash in the wake. 

Johnson took the harness off the reel so he could 
put the rod across his knees because his arms got 
tired holding it in position all the- time. Because 
his hands got tired holding the spool of the reel 
against the drag of the big bait, he screwed the drag 
down when I wasn’t looking. I never knew he had 
it down. I didn’t like to see him hold the rod that 
way but I hated to be crabbing at him all the time. 
Besides, with the drag off, line would go out so 
there wasn’t any danger. But it was a sloppy way 
to fish. 

I was at the wheel and was working the edge of 
the stream opposite that old cement factory where 
it makes deep so close in to shore and where it makes 
a. sort of eddy where there is always lots of bait. 
Then I saw a splash like a depth bomb and the 
sword, and eye, and open lower-jaw and huge 
purple-black head of a black marlin. The whole top 
fin was up out of water looking as high as a full* 
rigged ship, and the whole scythe tail was out as he 
smashed at that tuna. The bill was as big around 
as a baseball bat and slanted up, and as he grabbed 
the bait he sliced the ocean wide open. He was solid 
purplc-black* and he had an eye as big as a soup 

. 2 S 


bowl. He was huge. I bet he’d go a thousand pounds. 

I yelled to Johnson to let him have line, but 
before I could say a word, I saw Johnson rise up in 
the air off the chair as though he was being der- 
ricked, and him holding just for a second on to that 
rod and the rod bending like a bow, and then the 
butt caught him in the belly, and the whole works 
went overboard. 

He d. screwed the drag tight, and when the fish 
struck, it lifted Johnson right out of the chair and he 
couldn’t hold it. He’d had the butt under one leg 
and the rod across his lap. If he’d had the harness 
on it would have taken him along, too. 

I cut out the engine and went back to the stern. 
He was sitting there holding on to his belly where 

the rod butt had hit him. 

‘I guess that’s enough for to-day,’ I said. 

What was it?’ he said to me. 

‘Black marlin,’ I said. 

‘How did it happen?’ 

‘You figure it out?’ I said. ‘The reel cost two 
hundred and fifty dollars. It costs more now. The 
rod cost me forty-five. There was a little under six 
hundred yards of thirty-six thread.’ 

Just then Eddy slaps him on the back ‘Mr. 
Johnson, he says,‘you’re just unlucky. You know 
I never saw that happen before in my life.’ 

Shut up, you rummy,’I said to him. 

1 tell you, Mr. Johnson,’ Eddy said, ‘that’s the 
rarest occurrence I ever saw in my life.’ 



‘What would I do if I was hooked to a fish like 
that?’ Johnson said. 

‘That’s what you wanted to fight all by yourself/ 
I told him. I was plenty sore. 

They re too big/ Johnson said. ‘Why, it would 
iust be punishment.’ 

‘Listen,’ I said. ‘A fish like that would kill you.’ 

‘They catch them.’ 

‘People who know how to fish catch them. But 
don’t think they don’t take punishment.’ 

‘I saw a picture of a girl who caught one.’ 

Sure, I said. ‘Still fishing. He swallowed the 
bait and they pulled his stomach out and he came 
to the top and died. I’m talking about trolling for 
them when they’re hooked in the mouth.’ 

‘Well/ said Johnson, ‘they’re too big. If it isn’t 
enjoyable, why do it?’ 

‘That’s right, Mr. Johnson,’ Eddy said. ‘If it 
isn’t enjoyable, why do it? Listen, Mr. Johnson. 
You hit the nail on the head there. If it isn’t enjoy¬ 
able — why do it?’ 

I was still shaky from seeing that fish and feeling 
plenty sick about the tackle and I couldn’t listen to 
them. I told the nigger to head her for the Morro. 
I didn t say anything to them and there they sat, 
Eddy in one of the chairs with a bottle of beer and 
Johnson with another. 

Captain,’ he said to me after a while, ‘could you 
make me a highball?’ 

I made him one without saying anything, and 


then I made myself a real one. I was thinking to 
myself that this Johnson had fished fifteen days, 
finally he hooks into a fish a fisherman would give 
a year to tie into, he loses him, he loses my heavy 
tackle, he makes a fool of himself and he sits there 
perfectly content, drinking with a rummy. 

When we got into the dock and the nigger was 
standing there waiting, I said, ‘What about to¬ 

‘I don’t think so,’ Johnson said. ‘I’m about fed 
up with this kind of fishing.’ 

‘You want to pay off the nigger?’ 

‘How much do I owe him?’" 

A dollar. You can give him a tip if you want.’ 
bo Johnson gave the nigger a dollar and two 
v-uban twenty-cent pieces. 

What’s this for?’ the nigger asks me, showing the 
coins. ■ 

‘A tip,’ I told him in Spanish. ‘You’re through 
He gives you that.’ 

Don’t come to-morrow?’ 


k aiigger gets ki s ball of twine he used for tying 
juts and his dark glasses, puts on his straw hat and 
goes without saying good-bye. He was a nigger 

‘in?™* th ° Ught much of an y of us. ^ 

I as£d\im. yOU Want t0 SCttle UP ’ J° hnson? ’ 

•We ca?setrf he — * S" mornin g/Johnson said, 
we can settle up in the afternoon.’ 

28' ■' 


‘Do you know how many days there are?’ 


‘No. There’s sixteen with to-day and a day each 
way makes eighteen. Then there’s the rod and reel 
and the line from to-day.’ 

‘The tackle’s your risk.’ 

‘No, sir. Not w'hen you lose it that way.’ 

‘I’ve paid every day for the rent ofit. It’s your risk. ’ 

‘No, sir,’ I said. ‘If a fish broke it and it wasn’t 
your fault, that would be something else. You lost 
that whole outfit by carelessness.’ 

‘The fish pulled it out of my hands.’ 

‘Because you had the drag on and didn’t have the 
rod in the socket.’ 

‘You have no business to charge for that.’ 

‘If you hired a car and ran it off a cliff, don’t you 
think you’d have to pay for it?’ 

‘Not if I was in it,’ Johnson said. 

‘That’s pretty good, Mr. Johnson,’ Eddy said. 
‘You see it, don’t you, Cap? If he was in it he’d be 
killed. So he wouldn’t have to pay. That’s a good 

I didn’t pay any attention to the rummy. ‘You 
owe two hundred and ninety-five dollars for that 
rod and reel and line,’ I told Johnson. 

‘Well, it’s not right,’ he said. ‘But if that’s the 
way you feel about it why not split the difference?’ 

‘I can’t replace it for under three hundred and 
sixty. I’m not charging you for the line. A fish like 
that could get all your line and it not be your fault. 



If there was anyone here but a rummy they’d tell 
you how square I’m being with you. I know it 
seems like a lot of money but it was a lot of money 
when I bought the tackle, too. You can’t fish like 
that without the best tackle you can buy.’ 

'Mr. Johnson, he says I’m a rummy. Maybe I am. 
But I tell you he’s right. He’s right and he’s 
reasonable,’ Eddy told him. 

‘I don’t want to make any difficulties,’ Johnson 
said finally. ‘I’ll pay for it, even though I don’t see 
it. I hats eighteen days at thirty-five dollars and 
two ninety-five extra.’ 

‘You gave me a hundred,’ I told him. ‘I’ll give 
you a list of what I spent and I’ll deduct what tmub 
there is left. What you bought for provisions going 
over and back.’ b 8 

‘That’s reasonable,’ Johnson said. 

., Listen, Mr. Johnson,’ Eddy said. ‘If you knew 
the way they usually charge a stranger you’d know 
it was more than reasonable. Do you know what 
is. It s exceptional. The Cap is treating you like 
you were his own mother.’ 6 y 

the I after°r 1 t n 0 n the ^ nk t?: morrow and come down in 
moiW ThCn 1U gCt the boat da y aft er to- 

‘No U ’ h“ § °^ ba = C r k n With US and Save the boat fa re.’ 
‘lA/ ’n b r d ,' 1 1 save time w tth the boat.’ 

Well,^ I said. ‘What about a drink?’ 

thereT’ ^ J ° hnSOn - <No hard feelings now, are 



‘No, sir,’ I told him. So the three of us sat there 
in the stem and drank a highball together. 

The next day I worked around her all morning, 
changing the oil in her base and one thin g and 
another. At noon I went uptown and ate at a 
Chink place where you get a good meal for forty 
cents, and then I bought some things to take home 
to my wife and our three girls. You know, perfume, 
a couple of fans and three of those high combs. 
When I finished I stopped in at Donovan’s and 
had a beer and talked with the old man and then 
walked back to the San Francisco docks, stopping 
in at three or four places for a beer on the way. 
I bought Frankie a couple at the Cunard bar and I 
came on board feeling pretty good. When I came 
on board I had just forty cents left. Frankie came 
on board with me, and while we sat and waited for 
Johnson I drank a couple of cold ones out of the 
ice box with Frankie. 

Eddy hadn’t shown up all night or all day but I 
knew he would be around sooner or later, as soon as 
nis credit ran out. Donovan told me he’d been in 
there the night before a little while with Johnson, 
and Eddy had been setting them up on credit. We 
waited and I began to wonder about Johnson not 
showing up. I’d left word at the dock for them to 
tell him to go on board and wait for me but they 
said he hadn’t come. Still, I figured he had been out 
f 11 ^ probably didn’t get up till around noon. 
The banks were open until three-thirty. We saw the 

3 ‘ 


plane go out, and about five-thirty I was all over 
feeling good and was getting plenty worried. 

At six o’clock I sent Frankie up to the hotel to see 
if Johnson was there. I still thought he might be out 
on a time or he might be there at the hotel feeling 
too bad to get up. I kept waiting and waiting until 
it was late. But I was getting plenty worried because 
he owed me eight hundred and twenty-five dollars. 

Frankie was gone about a little over half an hour 
When I saw him coming he was walking fast and 
shaking his head. 

‘Fie went on the plane,’ he said. 

All right. There it was. The consulate was 
closed. I had forty cents, and, anyhow, the plane 
was m Miami by now. I couldn’t even send a wire 
Some Mr. Johnson, all right. It was my fault. 

1 should have known better. 

Well, 5 I said to Frankie, c we might as well have 

a cold one, Mr. Johnson bought them.’ There were 
three bottles of Tropical left. 

Frankie felt as bad as I did. I don’t know how he 

nn U tE E Ut ^ jUSt ^ sla PP«g me 

on the. back and shaking his head. 

j° Sff 1 was broke. I’d lost five hundred 

couldnV Pty dollars of the charter, and tackle I 
uldn t replace for three hundred and fifty more 

w^iIdT 6 f ’ tha I gan ^ that han S s a rorind the dock 
wou d be pleased at that, I thought. It certainly 

before T 1 ^ S TS GOnCl t S happy . And the da y 
efore I turned down three thousand dollars to 



land three aliens on the Keys. Anywhere, just to 
get them out of the country. 

All right, what was I going to do now? I couldn’t 
bring in a load because you have to have money to 
buy the booze and besides there’s no money in it 
any more. The town is flooded with it and there’s 
nobody to buy it. But I was damned if I was going 
home broke and starve a summer in that town. 
Besides I’ve got a family. The clearance was paid 
when we came in. You usually pay the broker in 
advance and he enters you and clears you. Hell, 
I didn’t even have enough money to put in gas. 
It was a hell of a note, all right. Some Mr. Johnson. 

‘I’ve got to carry something, Frankie,’ I said. 
‘I’ve got to make some money.’ 

‘I’ll see,’ said Frankie. He hangs around the 
waterfront and does odd jobs and is pretty deaf 
and drinks too much every night. But you never 
saw a fellow more loyal nor with a better heart. 
I’ve known him since I first started to run over 
there. He used to help me load plenty of times. 
Then when I quit handling stuff and went party¬ 
boating and broke out this sword-fishing in Cuba 
I used to see him a lot around the dock and around 
the cafe. He seems dumb and he usually smiles 
instead of talking, but that’s because he’s deaf. 

‘You carry anything?’ Frankie asked. 

‘Sure,’ I said. ‘I can’t choose now.’ 






‘I’ll see,’ Frankie said. ‘Where will you be?’ 

‘I’ll be at the Perla,’ I told him. ‘I have to eat.’ 

You can get a good meal at the Perla for twenty- 
five cents. Everything on the menu is a dime except 
soup, and that is a nickel. I walked as far as there 
with Frankie, and I went in and he went on. Before 
he went he shook me by the hand and clapped me 
on the back again. 

‘Don’t worry,’ he said. ‘Me Frankie; much 
politics. Much business. Much drinking. No 
money. But big friend. Don’t worry.’ 

‘So long, Frankie,’ I said. ‘Don’t you worry 
either, boy.’ 7 



I WENT in the Perla and sat down at a table. They 
had a new pane of glass in the window that had 
been shot up and the show-case was all fixed up. 
There were a lot of gallegos drinking at the bar, 
and some eating. One table was playing dominoes 
already. I had black bean soup and a beef stew 
with boiled potatoes for fifteen cents. A bottle of 
Hatuey beer brought it up to a quarter. When I 
spoke to the waiter about the shooting he wouldn’t 
say anything. They were all plenty scared. 

b I. finished the meal and sat back and smoked a 
cigarette and worried my head off Then I saw 
Frankie coming in the door with someone behind 
him. Yellow stuff, I thought to myself. So it’s 
yellow stuff. 

This is Mr. Sing, 5 Frankie said, and smiled. 
He’d been pretty fast all right and he knew it. 

‘How do you do?’ said Mr. Sing. 

Mr. Sing was about the smoothest-looking thing 
I d ever seen. He was a Chink all right, but he 
talked like an Englishman and he was dressed in a 
white suit with a silk shirt and black tie and one of 
those hundred-and-twenty-five-dollar Panama hats. 

‘You will have some coffee?’ he asked me. 

Tf you do.’ 

Thank you/ said Mr. Sing. ‘We are quite alone 





‘Except for everybody in the cafe, 3 I told him. 

‘That is all right, 3 Mr. Sing said. ‘You have 
boat? 3 

‘Thirty-eight feet, 3 I said. ‘Hundred horse 
Kermath. 5 

‘Ah, 3 said Mr. Sing. ‘I had imagined it was 
something bigger. 3 

‘It can carry two hundred and sixty-five cases 
without being loaded. 3 

‘Would you care to charter it to me? 3 

‘On what terms? 3 

‘You need not go. I will provide a captain and a 
crew. 3 

‘No, 3 1 said. ‘I go on her wherever she goes. 3 

‘I see, 3 said Mr. Sing. ‘Would you mind leaving 
us? 3 he said to Frankie. Frankie looked as interested 
as ever and smiled at him. 

‘He’s deaf, 3 I said. ‘He doesn’t understand much 

T see,’ said Mr. Sing. ‘You speak Spanish. Tell 
him to rejoin us later. 5 

I motioned to Frankie with my thumb. He got up 
and went over to the bar. 

‘You don’t speak Spanish?’ I said. 

# Oh, yes, 5 said Mr. Sing. e Now what are the 
circumstances that would — that have made you 
consider .. 

Tm broke. 5 

I see, said Mr. Sing. ‘Does the boat owe any 
money? Can she be libelled? 5 



'No. 5 

Quite so , 5 Mr. Sing said. £ How many of my 
unfortunate compatriots could your boat accom¬ 
modate ? 5 

‘You mean carry ? 5 

‘That’s it . 5 

‘How far ? 5 

‘A day’s voyage . 5 

‘I don’t know , 5 I said. ‘She can take a dozen if 
they didn’t have any baggage . 5 

They would not have baggage. 5 

‘Where do you want to carry them ? 5 

Td leave that to you, 5 Mr. Sing said. 

‘You mean where to land them? 5 

‘You would embark them for the Tortugas where 
a schooner would pick them up. 5 

‘Listen , 5 I said. ‘There’s a lighthouse at the 
Tortugas on Loggerhead Key with .a radio that 
works both ways. 5 

‘Quite, 5 said Mr. Sing. ‘It would certainly be 
very silly to land them there. 5 

‘Then what? 5 , 

# ‘I said you would embark them for there. That is 
what their passage calls for. 5 

‘Yes, 5 I said. 

‘You would land them wherever your best judg¬ 
ment dictated. 5 

‘Will the schooner come to Tortugas to get them ? 5 

‘Of course not, 5 said Mr. Sing. ‘How silly. 5 

‘How much are they worth a head? 5 



‘Fifty dollars,’ said Mr. Sing. 


‘How would seventy-five do?’ 

‘What do you get a head?’ 

‘Oh, that’s quite beside the point. You see, there 
are a great many facets, or you would say angles, to 
my issuing tickets. It doesn’t stop there.’ 

Yes, I said. ‘And what I’m supposed to do 
doesn’t have to be paid for, either. Eh?’ 
t ‘I see your point absolutely,’ said Mr. Sing. 
‘Should we say a hundred dollars apiece?’ 

Listen,’ I said. ‘Do you know how long I would 
go to jail if they pick me up on this?’ 

‘Ten years,’ said Mr. Sing. ‘Ten years at least 
Jut there is no reason to go to jail, my dear Captain 
You run only one risk - when you load your 
passengers. Everything else is left to your dis¬ 
‘And if they come back on your hands?’ 

That’s quite simple. I would accuse you to them 
° 1 betrayed me. I will make a partial refund 

and ship them out again. They realize, of course, 
tnat it is a difficult voyage* 3 
‘What about me?’ 

I suppose I should send some word to the 

‘I see.’ 

dotes - - - *> * 

‘When would I get the money?’ 



Two hundred when, you agree "and a thousanc 
when you load. 5 

‘Suppose I went off with the two hundred? 5 

‘I could do nothing, of course, 5 he smiled. ‘Bui 
I know you wouldn’t do such a thing, Captain. 5 

‘Have you got the two hundred with you? 5 

‘Of course. 5 

‘Put it under the plate. 5 He did. 

‘All right/ I said. Til clear in the morning and 
pull out at dark. Now, where do we load? 5 

‘How would Bacuranao be? 5 

‘All right. Have you got it fixed? 5 

‘Of course. 5 

# "Now, about the loading/ I said. ‘You show two 
lights, one above the other, at the point. I’ll come 
in when I see them. You come out in a boat and 
load from the boat. You come yourself and you bring 
the money. I won’t take one on board until I have it. 5 

‘No/ he said; ‘one-half when you start to load 
and the other when you are finished. 5 

‘All right/ I said. ‘That’s reasonable. 5 

‘So everything is understood? 5 

‘I guess so/ I said. ‘There’s no baggage and no 
arms. No guns, knives, or razors; nothing. I have 
to know about that. 5 

‘Captain/ said Mr. Sing, ‘have you no trust in 
me? Don’t you see our interests are identical? 5 

‘You’ll make sure? 5 

‘Please do not embarrass me/ he said. ‘Do you 

not see how our interests coincide? 5 



‘All right,’ I told him. ‘What time will you be 

‘Before midnight.’ 

‘AH right,’ I said. ‘I guess that’s all.’ 

‘How do you want the money?’ 

‘In hundreds is all right.’ 

He stood up and I watched him go out. Frankie 
smiled at him as he went. Mr. Sing didn’t look at 
him. He was a smooth-looking Chink all right. 
Some Chink. 

Frankie came over to the table. ‘Well?’ he said. 
‘Where did you know Mr. Sing?’ 

‘He ships Chinamen,’ Frankie said. ‘Big business.’ 
‘How long you know him?’ 

‘He’s here about two years,’ Frankie said. 
‘Another one ship them before him. Somebody kill 

‘Somebody will kill Mr. Sing, too.’ 

‘Sure,’ said Frankie. ‘Why not? Plenty big 

‘Some business,’ I said. 

Big business,’ said Frankie. ‘Ship Chinamen 
never come back. Other Chinamen write letters 
say everything fine.’ 

‘Wonderful,’ I said. 

_ This kind of Chinamen no understand write 
Chinamen can write all rich. Eat nothing. Live on 
rice. Hundred thousand Chinamen here. Only 
three Chinese women.’ 




‘Government no let.’ 

‘Hell of a situation,’ I said. 

‘You do business him?’ 


‘Good business,’ said Frankie. ‘Better t han 
politics. Much money. Plenty big business.’ 

‘Have a bottle of beer,’ I told him. 

‘You not worry any more?’ 

Hell, no,’ I said. ‘Plenty big business. Much 

‘Good,’ said Frankie, and patted me on the back. 
Make me happier than nothing. All I want is you 
happy. Chinamen good business, eh?’ 


‘Make me happy,’ said Frankie. I saw he was 
about ready to cry because he was so pleased every¬ 
thing was all right, so I patted him on the back. 
Some Frankie. 

First thing in the morning I got hold of the 
broker and told him to clear us. He wanted the 
crew list and I told him nobody. 

‘You’re going to cross alone, Captain?’ 

‘That’s right.’ 

‘What’s become of your mate?’ 

‘He’s on a drunk,’ I told him. 

‘It’s very dangerous to go alone.’ 

‘It’s only ninety miles,’ I said. ‘Do you think 
having a rummy on board makes any difference?’ 

I ran her over to the Standard Oil dock across the 
harbour and filled up both the tanks. She held 



nearly two hundred gallons when I had her full. 
I hated to buy it at twenty-eight cents a gallon but I 

uian t know where we might go. 

Ever since I’d seen the Chink and taken the 

rT C l I d , b T ee ? worryin S about the business. 
I don t think I slept all night. I brought her back 

to the San Francisco dock, and there was Eddv 
waiting on the dock for me. ' 

‘Hello, Harry,’ he said to me and waved, r threw 
him the stern line and he made her fast, and then 
came aboard; longer, blearier, drunker than ever. 

I didn t say anything to him. 

‘What do you think about that fellow Johnson 
going off like that, Harry?’ he asked me. ‘What do 

you know about that?’ ° 

0 ? e " e> ’ I c . t °! d him - <You ’ re poison to me.’ 

‘rvf h ff’ Jf t ,V eel as bad about 14 as you do?’ 
Get off of her, I told him. 

w ba ’ k in - he chair and stretched b - 

‘WeP T m 1 We - re , g0m S across to-day,’ he said. 

■YrtSZ ‘ any rae to s,ay around -' 

^No? Get off her. 5 
Oh, take it easy. 5 

J in the face and he stood up and then 

chmbed up on to the dock. u U P and then 

he said OUldn,t d ° 4 th “ g Kke that t0 you > Harry,’ 



‘You’re goddamn right you wouldn’t,’ I told 
him. ‘I’m not going to carry you. That’s all.’ 

Well, what did you have to hit me for?’ 

‘So you’d believe it.’ 

What do you want me to do? Stay here and 

‘Starve, hell,’ I said. ‘You can get back on the 
ferry. You can work your way back.’ 

‘You aren’t treating me square,’ he said. 

‘Who did you ever treat square, you rummy?’ 
I told him. ‘You’d double-cross your own 

That was true, too. But I felt bad about hitting 
him. You know how you feel when you hit a drunk. 
But I wouldn t carry him the way things were now; 
not even if I wanted to. 

He stai ted to walk off down the dock looking 
longer than a day without breakfast. Then he 
turned and came back. 

‘How’s to let me take a couple of dollars, Harry?’ 

I gave him a five-dollar bill of the Chink’s. 

‘I always knew you were my pal, Harry, why 
don’t you carry me?’ 

‘You’re bad luck.’ 

‘You’re just plugged,’ he said. ‘Never mind, old 
pal. You’ll be glad to see me yet.’ 

Now he had money he went off a good deal 
faster, but I tell you it was poison to see him walk, 
even. He walked just like his joints were back¬ 



I went up to the Perla and met the broker and he 
gave me the papers and I bought him a drink. Then 
I had lunch and Frankie came in. 

‘Fellow gave me this for you,’ he said and handed 
me a rolled-up sort of tube wrapped in paper and 
tied with a piece of red string, ft looked like a 
photograph when I unwrapped it, and I unrolled it 
thinking it was maybe a picture someone around 
the dock had taken of the boat. 

All right. It was a close-up picture of the head 
and chest of a dead nigger with his throat cut clear 
across from ear to ear and then stitched up neat 
and a card on his chest saying in Spanish: ‘This is 
wiiat we do to lenguas largas. 5 
^Who gave it to you?’ I asked Frankie. 

P° mt ed out a Spanish boy that works around 
the docks who is just about gone with the con. This 
Jcid was standing at the lunch counter. 

Ask him to come over . 5 

e-aveTt-mh Cam ^ ovei ,' sa *d two young fellows 

lh^ v bm ab ° ut L eleven o’clock. They asked him 

Shtefor me a Th ^ Then he S aW ** *> 
anHirf Theygave him a dollar to see that I 

S fn ;• • hey were wel1 dressed, he said. 

Politics,’ Frankie said. 

‘Oh, yes,’ I said. 

th»X"&ls g o, . ice you were meetine 

‘Oh, yes.’ & * 

Bad politics, Frankie said. ‘Good thing you go.* 



‘Did they leave any message?’ I asked the Spanish 

‘No,’ he said. ‘Just to give you that.’ 

‘I’m going to leave now,’ I said to Frankie. 

‘Bad politics,’ Frankie said. ‘Very bad politics.’ 

I had all the papers in a bunch that the broker 
had given me and I paid the bill and walked out of 
that cafe and across the square and through the gate, 
and I was plenty glad to come through the ware¬ 
house and get out on the dock. Those kids had me 
spooked all right. They were just dumb enough to 
think I’d tipped somebody off about that other lot. 
Those kids were like Pancho. When they were 
scared they got excited, and when they got excited 
they wanted to kill somebody. 

I got on board and warmed up the engine. 
Frankie stood on the dock watching. He was 
smiling that funny deaf smile. I went back to him. 

‘Listen,’ I said. ‘Don’t you get in any trouble 
about this.’ 

He couldn’t hear me. I had to yell it at him. 

‘Me good politics,’ Frankie said. He cast her off. 



I waved to Frankie, who’d thrown the bowline on 
board, and I headed her out of the slip and dropped 
down the channel with her. A British freighter was 
going out and I ran along beside her and passed 
her. She was loaded deep with sugar and her plates 
were rusty. A limey in an old blue sweater looked 
down at me from her stern as I went by her. I went 
out the harbour and past the Morro and put her 
on the course for Key West; due north. I left the 
wheel and went forward and coiled up the bowline 

. and tben ^ me back and held her on her course 
spreading Kavana out astern, and then dropping it 
off behind us as we brought the mountains up. 

1 dropped the Morro out of sight after a while 
and then theNational Hotel and finally I could 
J ®, See the dome of *e Capitol. There wasn’t 
fished and r tf COmpared t0 the last day we had 

count s ^ T TI a Hght breeze ' Is awa 

thev werl * r eaded L in toward Hava na and 

the^urrent w™ 1 ^^ 0111 the wcstward . so I knew 
me current was light. 

waL’rantV^ 1011 and . km ed the motor. There 
When iSdfJ f n W f^ g gaS ' Fd let her 

the Morrn ^ ? J pkk Up the hght of 

Coiimar and «t S ^ nk j d up t0 ° Par > the lights of 
J mar, and steer m and run along to Bacuranao. 

46 . 


I figured the way the current looked she would 
drift the twelve miles up to Bacuranao by dark and 
I’d see the lights of Baracoa. 

Well, I killed the engine and climbed up forward 

to have a look around. All there was to see was the 
two smacks off to the westward headed in, and way 
back the dome oPthe Capitol standing up white out 
of the edge of the sea. There was some gulfweed on 
the stream and a few birds working, but not many. 
I sat up there awhile on top of the house and 
watched, but the only fish I saw were those little 
brown ones that use around the gulfweed. Brother, 
don’t let anybody tell you there isn’t plenty of 
water between Havana and Key West. I was 
just on the edge of it. 

After a while I went down into the cockpit 
again, and there was Eddy. 

c What’s the matter? What’s the matter with the 

tf She broke down.’ 

‘Why haven’t you got the hatch up?’ 

‘Oh, hell!’ I said. 

Do you know what he’d done? He’d come back 
again and slipped the forward hatch and gone down 
into the cabin and gone to sleep. He had two quarts 
with him. He’d gone into the first bodega he’d seen 
and bought it and come aboard. When I started out 
he woke up and went back to sleep again. When I 
stopped her out in the gulf and she began to roll 
a little with the swell it woke him up. 



I knew you’d carry me, Harry,’ he said. 

Carry you to hell,’ I said. ‘You aren’t even on 
the crew list. I’ve got a good mind to make you 
jump overboard now.’ you 

‘You’re an old joker, Harry,’ he said. ‘Us 

trouble ’ ° Ught t0 ^ t0gether when we’re in 

‘You,’ I said, ‘with your mouth. Who’s going- to 
trust your mouth when you’re hot?’ & * 

‘I’m a good man, Harry. You put me to the test 

and see what a good man 1 am/ 

‘Get me the two quarts,’ I told him. I was 

thinking of something else. 

He brought them out and I took a drink from the 
open one and put them forward by the wheel 
He stood there and I looked at him. I was so/v 
for him and for what I knew I’d have to do Sell 
1 ^ ^ im , when he wa s a good man. 

What s the matter with her, Harry?’ 

She’s all right.’ 

‘What’s the matter, then? What are you looking 
at me like that for?’ y loosing 

^Brother,’ 1 told him, and I was sorry for him 

you re m plenty of trouble.’ y or nun, 

‘What do you mean, Harry?’ 

figiedout 1 ^:" yet ’’ 1 Sai4 haVen ’‘ « »U 

Lit”;; t 1 

talk to him TU T , w ll > 11 was hard to 
• Then I went below and got out the 


pump-gun and the Winchester 30-30 that I always 
had below in the cabin and hung them up in their 
cases from the top of the house where we hung the 
rods usually, right over the wheel where I could 
reach them. I keep them in those full-length, 
clipped sheep’s wool cases with the wool inside 
soaked in oil. That’s the only way you can keep 
them from rusting on a boat. 

I loosened up the pump and worked her a few 
times, and then filled her up and pumped one 
into the barrel. I put a shell in the chamber of the 
Winchester and filled up the magazine. I got out 
the Smith and Wesson thirty-eight special I had 
when I was on the police force up in Miami from 
under the mattress and cleaned and oiled it and 
filled it up and put it on my belt. 

4 What’s the matter?’ Eddy said. 6 What the hell’s 
the matter?’ 

"Nothing,’ I told him. 

"What’s all the damn guns for?’ 

"I always carry them on board,’ I said. "To shoot 
birds that bother the baits or to shoot sharks, or for 
cruising along the Keys.’ 

"What’s the matter, damn it?’ said Eddy. "What’s 
the matter?’ 

"Nothing,’ I told him. I sat there with the old 
thirty-eight flopping against my leg when she rolled, 
and I looked at him. I thought, there’s no sense to 
do it now. I’m going to need him now. 

"We’re going to do a little job,’ I said. "In at 
’ n 49 


B acurana°. I’ll tell you what to do when it’s time ’ 
I didn t want to tell him too far ahead bccausehc 

^ S ° 

you on anything.’ y m Wldl 

didttyattt 1 ’ ““ “ d Shaty ’ “ d 1 

askedme ^7'-^ y ° U give me J ust one?’ he 
asked me I don t want to get the shakes.’ 

get dark T** We S&t and Waited for it to 

Llf k ‘ Jt j a fine sunset and Aere was a nice 

iSrteTthe ^ when * e sun S ot Pretty well down 
land d ^ gme and headed her in slow toward 



We lay offshore about a mile in the dark. The 
current had freshened up, with the sun down, and I 
noticed it running in. I could see the Morro. light 
way down to the westward and the glow of Havana, 
and the lights opposite us w’ere Rincon and Baracoa. 

I headed her up against the current until I was past 
Bacuranao and nearly to Cojimar. Then I let her 
drift down. It was plenty dark but I could tell good 
where we were. I had all the lights out. 

‘What’s it going to be, Harry?’ Eddy asked me. 
He was beginning to be spooked again. 

‘What do you think?’ 

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘You’ve got me worried.’ 
He was pretty close to the shakes and when he 
came near me he had a breath like a buzzard. 

‘What time is it?’ 

‘I’ll go down and see,’ he said. He came back up 
and said it was half-past nine. 

‘Are you hungry?’ I asked him. 

‘No,’ he said. ‘You know I couldn’t eat, Harry.’ 

‘All right,’ I told him. ‘You can have one.’ 

After he had it I asked him how he felt. He said 
he felt fine. 

‘I’m going to give you a couple more in a little 
while,’ I told him. ‘I know you haven’t got any 



" • T " H A V E X O T 
cojones unless voiTve mt mm. i T 

teaid. So you'd h ( J r s""." s "'• 

Tell me whaf.s up,’ said Eddv. 

Listen, I said, talking to him in ( j„. i. . 
going to Bacuranao and jnVfc liD , ,u 'h- ‘We’re 

You take the wheel when 1 tell v ■ , U ' Vc Chinks. 
«ril you to. Well take i md d “ w hatl 

and we’ll lock them Mow' (,,n, t,l r ”? bowl 

have one of th° sc now ?> d ' lhri 7> can I 

No,’ I said. ‘I wan t , 

want you usc ie ss g nt >on n,m-l>rave. r don’t 

a good man, Harry. You'll , 

Somg to bring those twdvc 0 ,.^ !?'• °" c ° hink « 

f e some money at the start uu* S f om ^ to give" 
board he’s going to give Inc ? 1CyVc aJi on 

When you see him start ti l T morr mo ™Y- 

second time you nut her-.t °j hailC m<: mor *cy the 

head her out to sea Don’t^ ^ hooJc her U P and 
to what happens. You keen hlr” Pa> ’ any an <mtion 

wteha ppens . Do ; U u l ” P dcSS? <,m n ” 

Cj£* „ - 

coming through the hatch ° U , t of t!lr c,1 bin or 
wa y> you take that mmo? *1 ?° M imd und <* 
as fast as they come^u/f> and , hlow ‘hum back 
pump-gu^p 5 * 0 y otl know how to me 



‘No. But you can show me.’ 

‘You’d never remember. Do you know how to 
use the Winchester?’ 

‘Just pump the lever and shoot it.’ 

‘That’s right,’ I said. ‘Only don’t shoot any holes 
in the hull.’ 

‘You’d better give me that other drink,’ Eddy 

‘AH right. I’ll give you a little one.’ 

I gave him a real one. I knew they wouldn’t 
make him drunk now; not pouring them into all 
that fear. But each one would work for a little 
while. After he drank this Eddy said, just as though 
he was happy, ‘So we’re going to run Chinks. 
Well, by God, I always said I’d run Chinamen if I 
was ever broke’. 

‘But you never got broke before, eh?’ I said to 
him. He was funny all right. 

I gave him three more drinks to keep him brave 
before it was half-past ten. It was funny watching 
him and it kept me from thinking about it myself. 
I hadn’t figured on all this wait. I’d planned to 
leave after dark, run out, just out of the glare, and 
coast along to Cojimar. 

At a little before eleven I saw the two lights show 
on the point. I waited a little while and then I took 
her in slow. Bacuranao is a cove where there used 
to be a big dock for loading sand. There is a little 
river that comes in when the rains open the bar 
across the mouth. The northers, in the winter, pile 



the sand up and close it. They used to go in with 
schooners and load guavas from the river and there 
used-to be a town. But the hurricane took it and 
it is all gone now except one house that some 
gallegos built out of the shacks the hurricane blew 
down and that they use for a clubhouse on Sundays 
when they come out to swim and picnic from 
xiavana. There is one other house where the dele 
gate lives but it is back from the beach. 

Each little place like that all down the coast has 
a government delegate, but I figured the Chink 
must use his own boat and have him fixed. As we 

r n 1 T 1 ? Sm f H the sea §ra P e and that sweet 
smell from the brush you get off the land. 

( Get up forward, 5 I said to Eddy. 

<t 1 Y ° U rf n>t anythin £ on that side, 5 he said. 
Ihe reef s on the other side as you go in. 5 You see, 

iie^d been a good man once. 

Watch her, 5 I said, and I took her in to where I 
knew they could see us. With no surf they could 

knnL’ he e T n u' 1 ? dn5t want to wait around, not 
th n S .whether they saw us or not, so I flashed 
the running lights on once, just the green and red 

£ d rlT,T ff ', V 1 * umcd “caS 

eneine lay ' there ’ J ust outside, with the 

that cloie in kmg ‘ Ther * WaS quite a little swell 

I^ZZ^ k hm/ 1 said to and 1 8*vc 
‘Do you cock it first with your thumb? 5 he whis- 



pered to me. He was sitting at the wheel now, and 
I had reached up and had both the cases open and 
the butts pulled out about six inches. 

‘That’s right.’ 

‘Oh, boy,’ he said. 

11 certainly was wonderful what a drink would do 
to him and how quick. 

We lay there and I could see a light from the 
delegate’s house back through the brush. I saw the 
two lights on the point go down, and one o. them 
moving off around the point. They must have 
blown the other one out. 

Then, in a little while, coming out of the cove, I 
see a boat come toward us with a man sculling. 
I could tell by the way he swung back and forth. 
I knew he had a big oar. I was pretty pleased. 
If they were sculling that meant one man. 

They came alongside. 

‘Good evening, Captain,’ said Mr. Sing. 

‘Come astern and put her broadside,’ I said to 

He said something to the kid who was sculling 
but he couldn’t scull backwards, so I took hold 
of the gunwale and passed her astern. There were 
eight men in the boat. The six Chinks, Mr. Sing, 
and the ldd sculling. While I was pulling her astern 
I was waiting for something to hit me on top of the 
head but nothing did. I straightened up and let 
Mr. Sing hold on to the stem. 

‘Let’s see what it looks like,’ I said. 



He handed it to me and I took the roll of it up to 
where Eddy was at the wheel and put on the bin¬ 
nacle light. I looked at it carefully. It looked all 

Smbhn^ 6 and 1 tUmed ° ff thC light ‘ EdcJ y was 

rh ?rj° mS f 0ae ’ 1 said ' 1 saw him reach for 
the bottle and tip it up. 

I went back to the stern. 

All right,’ I said. ‘Let six come on board.’ 

. •T', 8 ™? and the , Cuban that sculled were having 
^ ii i° dmg th eir hoat from knocking in what little 
swell there was. I heard Mr. Sing say somethin? in 
Chink and all the Chinks in the bo.tstlnSZ 
climb on to the stem. 

One at a time/ I said. 

anShefsIx^Sfo^ and then 0ne after 

anouier six Chinks came over the st-em t-k 

were all lengths and sizes. tfte stern. They 
‘Show they forward,’ I said to Eddy 

I knef By °° d 

•S l sW ^Eddy^ Wh “ * hey ^ a " “■ 

lt/uZtt <!xothcrs ’' saiiMr ^- 

K dU^. them dear “ d ^ ^ Mm started 

yout e £™; h Ed t/ You ,ay off ^ 

O.K., chief,’ said Eddy. 


‘What’s the matter with you?’ 

‘This is what I like to do,’ said Eddy. ‘You say 
you just pull it backward with your thumb?’ 

‘You lousy rummy,’ I told him. ‘Give me a drink 
out of that.’ 

‘All gone,’ said Eddy. ‘Sorry, chief.’ 

‘Listen. What you have to do now is watch when 
'he hands me the money and put her ahead.’ 

‘O.K., chief,’ said Eddy. 

I reached up and took the other bottle and got the 
corkscrew and drew the cork. I took a good drink 
and went back to the stem, putting the cork in 
tight and laying the bottle behind two wicker iues 
full of water. 

‘Here comes Mr. Sing,’ I said to Eddy. 

Wes, sir,’ said Eddy. 

The boat came out sculling toward us. 

He brought her astern and I let them do the 
holding on. Mr. Sing had hold of the roller we had 
across the stern to slide a big fish aboard. 

‘Let them come aboard,’ I said, ‘one at a time.’ 

Six more assorted Chinks came on board over the 

‘Open up and show them forward,’ I told Eddy. 

‘Yes, sir,’ said Eddy. 

‘Lock the cabin.’ 

‘Yes, sir.’ 

I saw he was at the wheel. 

‘All right, Mr. Sing,’ I said. ‘Let’s see the rest 
of it.’ 



He put his hand in his pocket and reached the 
money out toward me. I reached for it and grabbed 
his wrist with the money in his hand, and as he came 
forward on the stern I grabbed his throat with the 
other hand. I felt her start and then churn ahead as 

but r°° ke w UP an , d r ^' as pIent y bus y wit h Mr. Sing 
but I could see the Cuban standing in the stern If 

the boat holding the sculling oar as we pulled awav 

from her through all the flopping and bouncTS 



true, his loose arm flailing But ri j,- c " Sh ’ 

£ S b Si? 

Sr teA »»■* ^ 

** “ 

, 1 Picked up the money off the cocknit fl™ , 
toot » up and put „„ dJLna/e 



it. Then I took the wheel and told Eddy to look 
under the stern for some pieces of iron that I used 
for anchoring whenever we fished bottom-fishing on 
patches or rocky bottom where you wouldn’t want 
to risk an anchor. 

‘I can’t find anything,’ he said. He was scared 
being down there by Mr. Sing. 

‘Take the wheel,’ I said. ‘Keep her out.’ 

There was a certain amount of moving around 
going on below but I wasn’t spooked about them. 

I found a couple of pieces of what I wanted, iron 
from the old coaling dock at Tortugas, and I took 
some snapper-line and made a couple of good big 
pieces fast to Mr. Sing’s ankles. Then when we were 
about two miles offshore, I slid him over. He slid 
over smooth off the roller. I never even looked in 
his pockets. I didn’t feel like fooling with him. 

He’d bled a little on the stern from his nose and 
his mouth, and I dipped a bucket of water that 
nearly pulled me overboard the way we were going, 
and cleaned her off good with a scrub brush from 
under the stern. 

‘Slow her down,’ I said to Eddy. 

‘What if he floats up?’ Eddy said. 

‘I dropped him in about seven hundred fathoms,’ 
I said. ‘He’s going down all that way. That’s a 
long way, brother. He won’t float till the gas brings 
him up and all the time he’s going with the current 
and baiting up fish. Hell,’ I said, ‘you don’t have 
to worry about Mr. Sing.’ 



mat did you have against him?’ Eddy asked me 
Nothing I said. ‘He was the easiest man to do 
business with I ever met. I thought there must be 
something wrong all the time.’ ° 

‘What did you kill him for?’ 

‘To keep from killing twelve other chinks,’ I said 
Harry he said, ‘you’ve got to give me one 
because I can feel them coming on. It made me 
sick to see his head all loose like that.’ 
bo I gave him one. 

‘What about the Chinks?’ Eddy said. 

him W ‘R n f t0 S ,f thCm ?, Ut as ( ? uick as 1 can,’ I told 
Before the Y smell up the cabin.’ 

‘w m C arC y ° U goin S to P ut them?’ 

him rUn thCm right in t0 the lon S beach,’ I told 
‘Take her in now ? 5 
Sure,’ I said. ‘Take her in slow.’ 

We came in slow over the reef , u T 

’ a " S “ dy bMK ™ “d 

Get up forward and give me the depth.’ 

me on with thTpohf nfcam^back m ° tioning 

-e to st op , j k ? ° 0tWned 

ve got abotit five feet’ 

happens so § we havenftime to^^h <If anythin S 
cut loose or break her off.’ ^ ^ Up ’ We can 



Eddy paid out rope and when finally she didn’t 
drag he made her fast. She swung stem in. 

‘It’s sandy bottom, you know,’ he said. 

‘How much water have we got at the stern?’ 

‘Not over five feet.’ 

‘You take the rifle,’ I said. ‘And be careful.’ 

‘Let me have one,’ he said. He was plenty 

I gave him one and took down the pump-gun. 
I unlocked the cabin door, opened it, and said: 
‘Come on out.’ 

Nothing happened. 

Then one Chink put his head out and saw Eddy 
standing there with a rifle and ducked back. 

‘Come on out. Nobody’s going to hurt you,’ I 

Nothing doing. Only lots of talk in Chink. 

‘Come on out, you!’ Eddy said. My God, I 
knew he’d had the bottle. 

‘Put that bottle away,’ I said to him, ‘or I’ll blow 
you out of the boat.’ 

‘Come on out,’ I said to them, ‘or I’ll shoot in 
at you.’ 

I saw one of them looking at the corner of the 
door and he saw the beach evidently because he 
begins to chatter. 

‘Come on,’ I said, ‘or I’ll shoot.’ 

Out they came. 

Now I tell you it would take a hell of a mean 
man to butcher a bunch of Chinks like that and I’ll 



bet there would be plenty of trouble, too, let alone 

They came out and they were scared and they 
didn’t have any guns but there were twelve of them. 
I walked backwards down to the stern holding the 
pump-gun. ‘Get overboard,’ I said. ‘It’s not over 
your heads.’ 

Nobody moved. 

‘Over you go.’ 

Nobody moved. 

‘You yellow rat-eating aliens,’ Eddy said, ‘get 

‘Shut your drunken mouth,’ I told him. 

‘No swim,’ one Chink said. 

‘No need swim,’ I said. ‘No deep.’ 

‘Come on, get overboard,’ Eddy said. 

Come astern here,’ I said. ‘Take your gun in 
one hand and your grain pole in the other and show 
them how deep it is.’ 

He showed them, holding up the wet pole. 

‘No need swim?’ the one asked me. 




‘Where we?’ 


You damn crook,’ he said and went over the 
side, hanging on and then letting go. His head went 
under but he came up and his chin was out of 
water. Damn crook,’ he said. ‘Goddamn crook.’ 



He was mad and plenty brave. He said something 
in Chink and the others started going into the water 
off the stem. 

‘All right/ I said to Eddy. ‘Get the anchor up . 5 

As we headed her out, the moon started to come 
up, and you could see the Chinks with just their 
heads out of water, walking ashore, and the shine of 
the beach and the brush behind. 

We got out past the reef and I looked back once 
and saw the beach and the mountains starting to 
show up; then I put her on her course for Key 

‘Now you can take a sleep, 5 I said to Eddy. 
‘No, wait, go below and open all the ports to get 
the stink out and bring me the iodine . 5 

‘What’s the matter? 5 he said when he brought it. 

‘I cut my finger. 5 - 

‘Do you want me to steer? 5 

‘Get a sleep, 5 I said. ‘I’ll wake you up. 5 

He lay down on the built-in bunk in the cockpit, 
over the gas tank, and in a little while he was 


I held the wheel with my knee and opened up 
my shirt and saw where Mr. Sing bit me. It was 
quite a bite and I put iodine on it, and then I sat 
there steering and wondering whether a bite from a 
Chinaman was poisonous, and listened to her 
running nice and smooth and the water washing 
along her, and I figured, Hell, no, that bite wasn’t 
poisonous. A man like that Mr. Sing probably 
scrubbed his teeth two or three times a day. Some 
Mr. Sing. He certainly wasn’t much of a business 
man. Maybe he was. Maybe he just trusted me 
I tell you I couldn’t figure him. 

Well, now it was all simple except for Eddy. 
Because he’s a rummy he’ll talk when he gets hot. 

I sat there steering and I looked at him and I 
thought, hell, he’s as well off dead as the way he is 
and then I’m all clear. When I found he was on 
board I decided I’d have to do awav with him 
but then when everything had come out so nice 
1 didn t have the heart. But looking at him lying 
there it certainly was a temptation. But then I 
thought there’s no sense spoiling it by doing some- 
thing you d be sorry for afterwards. Then I started 
to think he wasn’t even on the crew list and I’d 
have to pay a fine for bringing him in and I didn’t 
icnow how to consider him. 


harry morgan-spring 

Well, I had plenty of time to think about it and 
I held her on her course and every once in a while 
I’d take a drink out of the bottle he’d brought on 
board. There wasn’t much in it, and when I’d 
finished it, I opened up the only one I had left, 
and I tell you I felt pretty good steering, and it. was 
a pretty night to cross. It had turned out a good 
trip all right, finally, even though it had looked 
plenty bad plenty of times. 

When it got daylight Eddy woke up. He said 
he felt terrible. 

‘Take the wheel a minute,’ I told him. ‘I want 
to look around.’ 

I went back to the stem and threw a little water 
on her. But she was perfectly clean. I scrubbed the 
brush over the side. I unloaded the guns and stowed 
them below. But I still kept, the gun on my belt. 
It was fresh and nice as you want it below, no smell 
at all. A little water had come in through the star¬ 
board port on to one of the bunks was all; so I shut 
the ports. There wasn’t a custom house officer in 
the world could smell Chink in her now. 

I saw the clearance papers in the net bag hanging 
up under her framed licence where I’d shoved them 
when I came on board and I took them out to look 
them over. Then I went up to the cockpit. 

‘Listen,’ I said. ‘How did you get on the crew 

‘I met the broker when he was leaving for the 
consulate and told him I was going.’ 




‘God looks after rummies,’ I told him and I took 
the thirty-eight off and stowed it down below. 

I made some coffee down below and then I came 
up and took the wheel. 

‘There’s coffee below,’ I told him. 

‘Brother, coffee wouldn’t do me any good.’ 
You know you had to be sorry for him. He cer¬ 
tainly looked bad. 

About nine o’clock we saw the Sand Key light 
just about dead ahead. We’d seen tankers going up 
the Gulf for quite a while. 

‘We’ll be in in a couple of hours now,’ I said to 
him. ‘I’m going to give you the same four dollars a 
day just as if Johnson had paid.’ 

‘How much did you get out of last night?’ he 
asked me. 

‘Only six hundred,’ I told him. 

I don’t know whether he believed me or not. 

‘Don’t I share in it?’ 

‘That’s your share,’ I told him. ‘What I just told 
you, and if you ever open your mouth about last 
night I’ll hear of it and I’ll do away with you.’ 

‘You know I’m no squealer, Harry.’ 

‘You’re a rummy. But no matter how rum dumb 
you get, if you ever talk about that, I promise you.’ 

‘I’m a good man,’ he said. ‘You oughtn’t to talk 
to me like that.’ 

‘They can’t make it fast enough to keep you a 
good man,’ I told him. But I didn’t worry about 
him any more because who was going to believe 



him? Mr. Sing wouldn’t make any complaints. 
The Chinks weren’t going to. You know the boy 
that sculled them out wasn’t. He wouldn’t want to 

get himself in trouble. Eddy would mouth about it 
sooner or later, maybe, but who believes a rummy? 

Why, who could prove anything? Naturally it 
would have made plenty more talk when they saw 
his name on the crew list. That was luck for me, all 
right. I could have said he fell overboard, but it 
makes plenty talk. Plenty of luck for Eddy, too. 
Plenty of luck, all right. 

Then we came to the edge of the stream and the 

water quit being blue and was light and greenish 
and inside I could see the stakes on the Eastern 
and the Western Dry Rocks and the wireless masts 
at Key West and the La Concha hotel up high out 
of all the low houses and plenty smoke from out 
where they’re burning garbage. Sand Key light 
was plenty close now and you could see the boat¬ 
house and the little dock alongside the light and I 
knew we were only forty minutes away now and I 
felt good to be getting back and I had a good stake 
now for the summertime. 

‘What do you say about a drink, Eddy?’ I said 
to him. 

e Ah, Harry,’ he said, T always knew you were 

my pal.’ 

That night I was sitting in the living-room 
smoking a cigar and drinking a whisky and water 

and listening to Grade Allen, on the radio. The girls 



had gone to the show and sitting there I felt sleepy 
and I felt good. There was somebody at the front 
door and Marie, my wife, got up from where she 
was sitting and went to it. She came back and said 
‘It’s that rummy, Eddie Marshall. He says he’s got 
to see you.’ 6 

Tel! him to get out before I rim him out/ l told 

She came back in and sat down and looking out 
the window where I was sitting with my feet up I 

could see Eddy going along the road under the arc 
light with another rummy he’d picked up, the two 

of them swaying, and their shadows from the arc 
light swaying worse. 

‘Poor goddamned rummies,’ Marie said. ‘I uitv 
a rummy.’ v ' 

He’s a lucky rummy.’ 

There ain’t any lucky rummies,’ 
You know that, Harry.’ 

‘No,’ I said. ‘I guess there aren't.’ 

Marie said. 






They came on across in the night and it blew a 
big breeze from the north-west. When the sun was 
up he sighted a tanker coming down the Gulf 
and she stood up so high and white with the sun on 

her in that cold air it looked like tall buildings rising 
out of the sea and he said to the nigger, "Where the 
hell are we?’ 

The nigger raised himself up to look. 

"Ain’t nothing like that this side of Miami.’ 

"You know damn well we ain’t been carried up 
to no Miami/ he told the nigger. 

"All I say ain’t no buildings like that on no 
Florida Keys.’ 

"We’ve been steering for Sand Key.’ 

"We got to see it then. It or American shoals.’ 

Then in a little while he saw it was tanker and not 
buildings and then in less than an hour he saw 
Sand Key light, straight, thin and brown, rising 
out of the sea right where it ought to be. 

"You got to have confidence steering/ he told the 

"I got confidence/ the nigger said. "But the way 
this trip gone I ain’t got confidence no more.’ 

"How’s your leg?’ 

"It hurts me all the time.’ 

"It ain’t nothing/ the man said. "You keep it 
clean and wrapped up and it’ll heal by its-self.’ 



He was steering to the westward now to go in to 
lay up for the day in the mangroves by Woman 
Key where he would not see anybody and where 
the boat was to come out to meet them. 

‘You’re going to be all right,’ he told the nigger. 

‘I don’t know,’ the nigger said. ‘I hurt bad.’ 

‘I’m going to fix you up good when we get in to 
the place,’ he told him. ‘You aren’t shot bad. 
Quit worrying.’ 

‘I’m shot,’ he said. ‘I ain’t never been shot 
before. Any way I’m shot is bad.’ 

‘You’re just scared.’ 

‘No, sir. I’m shot. And I’m hurting bad. I’ve 
been throbbing all night.’ 

The nigger went on grumbling like that and he 
could not keep from taking the bandage off to look 
at it. 

‘Leave it alone,’ the man who was steering told 
him. The nigger lay on the floor of the cockpit and 
there were sacks of liquor, shaped like hams, piled 
everywhere. He had made himself a place in them 
to lay down in. Every time he moved there was the 
noise of broken glass in the sacks and there was the 
odour of spilled liquor. The liquor had run all over 
everything. The man was steering in for Woman 
Key now. He could see it now plainly. 

‘I hurt,’ the nigger said. ‘I hurt worse all the 

‘I’m sorry, Wesley,’ the man said. ‘But I got to 
steer.’ ° 



‘You treat a man no better than a dog,’ the nigger 
said. He was getting ugly now. But the man was 
still sorry for him. 

‘I’m going to make you comfortable, Wesley,’ he 
said. ‘You lay quiet now.’ 

‘You don’t care what happens to a man,’ the 
nigger said. ‘You ain’t hardly human. 5 

‘I’m going to fix you up good,’ the man said. 
‘You just lay quiet.’ 

‘You ain’t going to fix me up,’ the nigger said. 
The man, whose name was Harry Morgan, said 
nothing then because he liked the nigger and there 
was nothing to do now but hit him, and he couldn’t 
hit him. The nigger kept on talking. 

‘Why didn’t we stop when they started shooting?’ 

The man did not answer. 

‘Ain’t a man’s life worth more than a load of 

The man was intent on his steering. 

‘.All we have to do is to stop and let them take* 
the liquor.’ 

‘No,’ the man said. ‘They take the liquor and 
the boat and you go to jail.’ 

‘I don’t mind jail,’ the nigger said. ‘But I never 
wanted to get shot.’ 

He was getting on the man’s nerves now and the 
man was becoming tired of hearing him talk. 

‘Who the hell’s shot worse?’ he asked him. ‘You 
or me?’ 

‘You’re shot worse,’ the nigger said. ‘But I ain’t 


never been shot. I didn’t figure to get shot. I ain’t 
paid to get shot. I don’t want to be shot.’ 

‘Take it easy, Wesley,’ the man told him. ‘It 
don’t do you any good to talk like that.’ 

They were coming up on the Key now. They 
were inside the shoals and as he headed her into the 
channel it was hard to see with the sun on the water. 
The nigger was going out of his head, or becoming 
religious because he was hurt; anyway he was 
talking all the time. 

. ‘Why they run liquor now?’ he said. ‘Prohibi¬ 
tion’s over. Why they keep up a traffic like that? 
Whyn’t they bring the liquor in on the ferry?’ 

The man steering was watching the channel 

£ Why don’t people be honest and decent and make 

a decent honest living?’ 

The man saw where the water was rippling 
smooth off the bank even when he could not see the 
bank in the sun and he turned her off. He swung her 
around, spinning the wheel with one arm, and then 
the channel opened out and he took her slowly right 
up to the edge of the mangroves. He came astern on 
the engines and threw out the two clutches. 

‘I can put an anchor down/ he said. 'But I 
can’t get no anchor up.’ 

T can’t even move/ the nigger said. 
c You’re certainly in a hell of a shape/ the man 
told him. 

He had a difficult time breaking out, lifting, and: 

■ 74 . 


dropping the small anchor but he got it over and 
paid out quite a lot of rope and the boat swung in 
against the mangroves so they came right into the 
cockpit. Then he went back and down into the 
cockpit. He thought the cockpit was a hell of a 
sight, all right. 

All night after he had dressed the nigger’s wound 
and the nigger had bandaged his arm he had been 
watching the compass, steering, and v/hen it came 
daylight he had seen the nigger laying there in the 
sacks in the middle of the cockpit, but then he was 
watching the seas and the compass and looking for 
the Sand Key light and he had never observed 
carefully how things were. Things were bad. 

The nigger was lying in the middle of the load of 
sacked liquor with his leg up. There were eight 
bullet holes through the cockpit splintered wide. 
The glass was broken in the windshield. He did not 
know how much stuff was smashed and wherever 
the nigger had not bled, he, himself, had bled. 
But the worst thing, the way he felt at the moment, 
was the smell of booze. Everything was soaked in it. 
Now the boat was lying quietly against the man¬ 
groves but he could not stop feeling the motion of the 
big sea they had been in all night in the Gulf. 

‘I’m going to make some coffee,’ he told the 
nigger. ‘Then I’ll fix you up again.’ 

‘I don’t want no coffee.’ 

‘I do,’ the man told him. But down below he 
began to feel dizzy so he came out on deck again. 



‘I guess we won’t have coffee,’ he said. 

‘I want some water.’ 

‘AH right.’ 

He gave the negro a cup of water out of a demi¬ 

‘Why you want to keep on running for when they 
started to shoot?’ 

‘Why they want to shoot?’ the man answered. 

‘I want a doctor,’ the nigger told him. 

‘What’s a doctor going to do that I ain’t done for 

‘Doctor going to cure me.’ 

‘You’ll have a doctor to-night when the boat 
comes out.’ 

‘I don’t want to wait for no boat.’ 

‘All right,’ the man said. ‘We’re going to dump 
this liquor now.’ 

He started to dump it and it was hard work one 
handed. A sack of liquor only weighs forty pounds 
but he had not dumped very many of them before he 
became dizzy again. He sat down in the cockpit and 
then he lay down. 

‘You going to kill youself,’ the nigger said. 

The man lay quietly in the cockpit with his head 
against one of the sacks. The branches of the man¬ 
groves had come into the cockpit and they made a 
shadow over him where he lay. He could hear the 
wind above the mangroves and looking out at the 
high, cold sky, see the thin-blown clouds of the 



‘Nobody going to come out with this breeze,’ he 
thought. ‘They won’t look for us to have started 
with this blowing.’ 

‘You think they’ll come out?’ the nigger asked. 

‘Sure,’ the man said. ‘Why not?’ 

‘It’s blowing too hard.’ 

‘They’re looking for us.’ 

‘Not with it like this. What you want to lie to me 
for?’ The nigger was talking with his mouth almost 
against a sack. 

‘Take it easy, Wesley,’ the man told him. 

‘Take it easy, the man says,’ the nigger went on. 
‘Take it easy. Take what easy? Take dyin’ like a 
dog easy? You got me here. Get me out.’ 

‘Take it easy,’ the man said, kindly. 

‘They ain’t coming,’ the nigger said. ‘I know 
they ain’t coming. I’m cold, I tell you. I can’t 
stand this pain and cold, I tell you.’ 

The man sat up feeling hollow and unsteady. The 
nigger’s eyes watched him as he rose on one knee, 
his right arm dangling, took the hand of his right 
arm in his left hand and placed it between his knees 
and then pulled himself up by the plank nailed 
above the gunwale until he stood, looking down, 
down at the nigger, his right hand still held between 
his thighs. He was thinking that he had never really 
felt pain before. 

‘If I keep it out straight, pulled out straight, it 
don’t hurt so bad,’ he said. 

‘Let me tie it up in a sling, ? the nigger said. 



I can t make a bend in the elbow, ’ the man said. 
‘It stiffened that way.’ 

‘What we going to do?’ 

‘Dump this liquor,’ the man told him. ‘Can’t you 
put over what you can reach, Wesley?’ 

The nigger tried to move to reach a sack, then 
groaned and lay back. 

‘Do you hurt that bad, Wesley?’ 

‘Oh, God,’ the nigger said. 

‘You don’t think once you moved it, it wouldn’t 
hurt so bad?’ 

‘I’m shot,’ the nigger said. ‘I ain’t going to move. 
The man wants me to go to dumpin’ liquor when 
I’m shot.’ 

‘Take it easy . 1 

‘You say that once more I go crazy.’ 

‘Take it easy,’ the man said quietly. 

The nigger made a howling noise and, shuffling 
with his hands on the deck, picked up the whetstone 

from under the coaming. 

( 111 kill you/ he said. Til cut your heart out.’ 

‘Not with no whetstone,’ the man said. ‘Take it 

easy, Wesley.’ 

The nigger blubbered with his face against a sack, 
ihe man went on slowly lifting the sacked packages 

of hquor and dropping them over the side. 



While he was dumping the liquor he heard the 
sound of a motor and looking, saw a boat headed 
toward them, coming down the channel around the 
end of the Key. It was a white boat with a buff 
painted house and a windshield. 

‘Boat coming/ he said. ‘Come on, Wesley. 3 

‘I can’t. 3 

‘I’m remembering from now on,’ the man said. 
‘Before was different. 3 

‘Go ahead and remember, 3 the nigger told him. 
‘I ain’t forgot nothing either. 3 

Working fast now, the sweat running down his 
face, not stopping to watch the boat coming slowly 
down the channel, the man picked up the sacked 
packages of liquor with his good arm and dropped 
them over the side. 

‘Roll over , 3 he reached for the package under 
the nigger’s head and swung it over the side. The 
nigger sat up. 

‘Here they are, 3 he said. The boat was almost 
abeam of them. 

‘It’s Captain Willie, 3 the nigger said. ‘With a party. 3 

In the stern of the white boat two men in flannels 
and white cloth hats sat in fishing chairs trolling and 
an old man in a felt hat and a windbreaker held the 
tiller and steered the boat close past the mangroves 
where the booze boat lay. 



‘What do you say, Harry?’ the old man called 
as he passed. The man called Harry waved his good 
arm in reply. The boat went on past, the two men 
who were fishing looking towards the booze boat and 
talking to the old man. Harry could not hear what 
they were saying. 

‘He’ll make a turn at the mouth and come back,’ 
Harry said to the negro. He went below and came 
up with a blanket. ‘Let me cover you up.’ 

"Bout time you cover me up. They couldn’t help 
but see that liquor. What we goin’ to do?’ 

‘Willie’s a good skate,’ the man said. ‘He’ll tell 
them in town we’re out here. Those fellows fishing 
ain’t going to bother us. What they care about us?’ 

He felt very shaky now and he sat down on the 
steering seat and held his right arm tight between his 
thighs. His knees were shaking and with the shaking 
he could feel the ends of the bone in his upper arm 
grate. He opened his knees, lifted his arm out, and 
let it hang by his side. He was sitting there, his arm 
hanging, when the boat passed them coming back 
up the channel. The two men in the fishing chairs 
were talking. They had put up their rods and one of 
them was looking at him through a pair of glasses. 
They were too far out for him to hear what they 
were saying. It would not have helped him if he had. 

On board the charter boat South Florida, trolling 
down the Woman Key channel, because it was too 
rough to go out to the reef, Captain Willie Adams 
was thinking, so Harry crossed last night. That boy’s 



got cojones. He must have got that whole blow. 
She’s a sea boat all right. How you suppose he 
smashed his windshield? Damned if Fd cross a night 
like last night. Damned if I’d ever run liquor from 
Cuba. They bring it all from Mariel now. It’s sup¬ 
posed to be wide open. ‘What’s that you say, Cap?’ 

‘What boat is that?’ asked one of the men in the 
fishing chairs. 

‘That boat?’ 

‘Yes, that boat.’ 

‘Oh, that’s a Key West boat.’ 

‘What I said was, whose boat is it?’ 

‘I wouldn’t know that, Cap.’ 

‘Is the owner a fisherman?’ 

‘Well, some say he is.’ 

‘What do you mean?’ 

‘He does a little of everything.’ 

‘You don’t know his name?’ 

‘No, sir.’ 

‘You called him Harry.’ 

‘Not me.’ 

‘I heard you call him Harry.’ 

Captain Willie Adams took a good look at the 
man who was speaking to him. He saw a high- 
cheekboned, thin-lipped, very ruddy face with deep 
set grey eyes and a contemptuous mouth looking at 
him from under a white canvas hat. 

‘I must have called him that by mistake,’ Captain 
Willie said. 

‘You can see that the man is wounded, Doctor, 9 




the other man said, handing the glasses to his com¬ 

‘I can see that without glasses,’ the man addressed 
as Doctor said. ‘Who is that man?’ 

‘I wouldn’t know,’ said Captain Willie. 

‘Well, you will know,’ the man with the con¬ 
temptuous mouth said. ‘Write down the numbers 
on the bow.’ 

‘I have them, Doctor.’ 

‘We’ll go over and have a look,’ the Doctor said. 

‘Are you a doctor?’ Captain Willie asked. 

‘Not of medicine,’ the grey-eyed man told him. 

‘If you’re not a medical doctor I wouldn’t go over 

‘Why not?’ 

‘If he wanted us he would have signalled us. If 
he don’t want us it’s none of our business. Down 
here everybody aims to mind their own business.’ 

‘All right. Suppose you mind yours then. Take us 
over to that boat.’ 

Captain Willie continued on his way up the chan¬ 
nel, the two-cylinder Palmer coughing steadily. 

‘Didn’t you hear me?’ 

‘Yes, sir.’ 

‘Why don’t you obey my order?’ 

‘Who the hell you think you are?’ asked Captain 

‘That’s not the question. Do as I tell you?’ 

‘Who do you think you are?’ 

‘All right. For your information, I’m one of the 

three most important men in the United States 

to-day . 5 ^ 

‘What the hell you doing in Key West, then. 

The other man leaned forward. ‘He’s Frederick 
Harrison,’ he said impressively. 

‘I never heard of him , 5 said Captain Willie. 

‘Well, you will , 5 said Frederick Harrison. ‘And 
so will everyone in this stinking jerkwater little 
town if I have to grub it out by the roots.’ 

‘You’re a nice fellow,’ said Captain Willie. ‘How 
did you get so important ? 5 

‘He’s one of the biggest men in the administra¬ 
tion , 5 said the other man. 

‘Nuts , 5 said Captain Willie. ‘If he’s all that what’s 
he doing in Key West ? 5 

‘He’s just here for a rest , 5 the secretary explained. 
‘He’s going to be governor-general of- 5 

‘That’s enough, Willis , 5 Frederick Harrison said. 
‘Now will you take us over to that boat , 5 he said 
smiling. He had a smile which was reserved for such 

‘No, sir . 5 

‘Listen, you half-witted fisherman. I’ll make life 
so miserable for you- 5 

‘Yes , 5 said Captain Willie. 

‘You don’t know who I am . 5 

‘None of it don’t mean anything to me , 5 said 
Captain Willie. 

‘That man is a bootlegger, isn’t he ? 5 

‘What do you think ? 5 



‘There’s probably, a reward for him. 9 

T doubt that.’ 

‘He’s a lawbreaker.’ 

‘He’s got a family and he’s got to eat and feed 
them. Who the hell do you eat off of with people 
working here in Key West for the government for 
six dollars and a half a week?’ 

‘He’s wounded. That means he’s been in trouble.’ 

‘Unless he shot hisself for fun.’ 

‘You can save that sarcasm. You’re going over to 
that boat and we’re going to take that man and that 
boat into custody.’ 

‘Into where?’ 

‘Into Key West.’ 

‘Are you an officer?’ 

‘I’ve told you who he is,’ the secretary said. 

‘All right/ said Captain Willie. He pushed the 
tiller hard over and turned the boat, coming so close 
to the edge of the channel that the propeller threw 
up a circling cloud of marl. He chugged down the 
channel toward where the other boat lay against the 

‘Have you a gun aboard?’ Frederick Harrison 
asked Captain Willie. 

‘No, sir.’ 

The two men' in flannels were standing up now 
watching the booze boat. 

‘This is better fun than fishing, eh, Doctor? 9 the 
secretary said. 

‘Fishing is nonsense/said Frederick Harrison. ‘If 

. 84 


you catch a sailfish what do you do with it? You 
can’t eat it. This is really interesting. I’m glad to see 
this at first hand. Wounded as he is that man can¬ 
not escape. It’s too rough at sea. We know his boat.’ 

‘You’re really capturing him single-handed,’ said 
the secretary admiringly. 

‘And unarmed, too,’ said Frederick Harrison. 

‘With no G men nonsense,’ said the secretary. 

‘Edgar Hoover exaggerates his publicity,’ said 
Frederick Harrison. ‘I feel we’ve given him about 
enough rope. Pull alongside,’ he said to Captain 
Willie. Captain Willie threw out his clutch and the 
boat drifted. 

‘Hey,’ Captain Willie called to the other boat. 
‘Keep your heads down.’ 

‘What’s that?’ Harrison said angrily. 

‘Shut up,’ said Captain Willie. ‘Hey,’ he called 
over to the other boat. ‘Listen. Get on into town 
and take it easy. Never mind the boat. They’ll take 
the boat. Dump your load and get into town. I got 
a guy here on board some kind of a stool from Wash¬ 
ington. More important than the President, he says. 
He wants to pinch you. He thinks you’re a boot¬ 
legger. He’s got the numbers of the boat. I ain’t 
never seen you so I don’t know who you are. I 
couldn’t identify you-’ 

The boats had drifted apart. Captain Willie went 
on shouting, ‘I don’t know where this place is where 
I seen you. I wouldn’t know how to get back here.’ 

‘O.K.,’ came a shout from the booze boat. 

8 5 


Tm taking this big alphabet man fishing until 
dark/ Captain Willie shouted. 


‘He loves to fish/ Captain Willie yelled, his voice 
almost breaking. ‘But the son of a bitch claims you 
can’t eat ’em. 5 

‘Thanks, brother/ came the voice of Harry. 

‘That chap your brother?’ asked Frederick Har¬ 
rison, his face very red but his love for information 
still unappeased. 

‘No, sir/ said Captain Willie. ‘Most everybody 
goes in boats calls each other brother.’ 

‘We’ll go into Key West/ Frederick Harrison 
said; but he said it without great conviction. 

‘No, sir/ said Captain Willie. ‘You gentlemen 
chartered me for a day. I’m going to see you get 
your money’s worth. You called me a halfwit but 
I’ll see you get a full day’s charter.’ 

‘Take us to Key West,’ Harrison said. 

‘Yes, sir/ said Captain Willie. ‘Later on. But 
listen, sailfish is just as good eating as kingfish. When 
we used to sell them to Rios for the Havana market 
we got ten cents a pound same as kings.’ 

‘Oh, shut up/ said Frederick Harrison. 

‘I thought you’d be interested in these things as a 
government man. Ain’t you mixed up in the prices 
of things that we eat or something? Ain’t that it? 
Making them more costly or something. Making the 
grits cost more and the grunts less?’ 

‘Oh, shut up/said Harrison. 



On the booze boat Harry had the last sack over.. 

‘Get me the fish knife,’ he said to the nigger. 

‘It’s gone.’ 

Harry pressed the self-starters and started the two- 
engines. He’d put a second engine in her when he 
went back to running liquor when the depression 
had put charter boat fishing on the bum. He got the 
hatchet and with his left hand chopped the anchor 
rope through against the bitt. It’ll sink and they’ll 
grapple it when they pick up the load, he thought. 
I’ll run her up into the Garrison Bight and if they’re 
going to take her they’ll take her. I got to get to a 
doctor. I don’t want to lose my arm and the boat 
both. The load is worth as much as the boat. There 
wasn’t much of it smashed. A little smashed can 
smell plenty. 

He shoved the port clutch in and swung out away 
from the mangroves with the tide. The engines ran 
smoothly. Captain Willie’s boat was two miles away 
now headed for Boca Grande. I guess the tide’s high 
enough to go through the lakes now, Harry thought.. 

He shoved in his starboard clutch and the engines 
roared as he pushed up the throttle. He could feel 
her bow rise and the green mangroves coasted swiftly 
alongside as the boat sucked the water away from 
their roots. I hope they don’t take her, he thought. 



I hope they can fix my arm. How was I to know 
they’d shoot at us in Mariel after we could go and 
come there open for six months. That’s Cubans for 
you. Somebody didn’t pay somebody so we got the 
shooting. That’s Cubans all right. 

‘Hey, Wesley,’ he said, looking back into the 
cockpit where the nigger lay with the blanket over 
him. ‘How you feeling?’ 

‘God,’ said Wesley. ‘I couldn’t feel no worse.’ 

‘You’ll feel worse when the old doctor probes for 
it,’ Harry told him. 

‘You ain’t human,’ the nigger said. ‘You ain’t 
got human feelings.’ 

That old Willie is a good skate, Harry was think¬ 
ing. There’s a good skate that old Willie. We did 
better to come in than to wait. It was foolish to wait. 
I felt so dizzy and sicklike I lost my judgment. 

Ahead now he could see the white of the La 
Concha hotel, the wireless masts, and the houses of 
town. He could see the car ferries lying at the 
Trumbo dock where he would go around to head up 
for the Garrison Bight. That old Willie, he thought. 
He was giving them hell. Wonder who those buz¬ 
zards were. Damn if I don’t feel plenty bad right 
now. I feel plenty dizzy. We did right to come in. 
We did right not to wait. 

‘Mr. Harry,’ said the nigger, ‘I’m sorry I couldn’t 
help dump that stuff.’ 

‘Hell,’ said Harry, ‘ain’t no nigger any good 
when he’s shot. You’re a all right nigger, Wesley.’ 



Above the roar of the motors and the high., slap¬ 
ping rush of the boat through the water he felt a 
strange, hollow singing in his heart. He always felt 
this way coming home at the end of a trip. I hope 
they can fix that arm, he thought. I got a lot of use 
for that arm. 






Albert Speaking 

We were all in there at Freddy’s place and this tall 
thin lawyer comes in and says, ‘Where’s Juan?’ 

‘He ain’t back yet,’ somebody said. 

‘I know he’s back and I’ve got to see him.’ 

‘Sure, you tipped them off to him and you got 
him indicted and now you’re going to defend him,’ 
Harry said. ‘Don’t you come around here asking 
where he is. You probably got him in your pocket.’ 

‘Balls to you,’ said the lawyer. ‘I’ve got a job 
for him.’ 

‘Well, go look for him some place else,’ Harry 
said. ‘He ain’t here.’ 

‘I’ve got a job for him, I tell you,’ the lawyer said. 

‘You ain’t got a job for anybody. All you are is 

Just then the old man with the long grey hair over 
the back of his collar who sells the rubber goods 
specialties comes in for a quarter of a pint and 
Freddy pours it out for him and he corks it up and 
scuttles back across the street with it. 

‘What happened to your arm?’ the lawyer asked 
Harry. Harry had the sleeve pinned up to the 

‘I didn’t like the look of it so I cut it off,’ Harry 
told him. 



‘You and who else cut it off? 5 

‘Me and a doctor cut it off/ Harry said. He had 
been drinking and he was getting a little along with 
it. ‘I held still and he cut it off. If they cut them off 
for being in other people’s pockets you wouldn’t 
have no hands nor no feet.’ 

‘What happened to it that they had to cut it off?’ 
the lawyer asked him. 

‘Take it easy/ Harry told him. 

‘No, I’m asking you. What happened to it and 
where were you?’ 

‘Go bother somebody else/ Harry told him. ‘You 
know where I was and you know what happened. 
Keep your mouth shut and don’t bother me.’ 

‘I want to talk to you/ the lawyer told him. 

‘Then talk to me.’ 

‘No, in back.’ 

‘I don’t want to talk to you. No good ever comes 

of you. You’re poison.’ 

‘I’ve got something for you. Something good/ 

‘All right. I’ll listen to you once/ Harry told him, 
‘What’s it about? Juan?’ 

‘No. Not about Juan.’ 

They went back behind the bend of the bar into 
where the booths are and they were gone quite a 
while. During the time they were gone Big Lucie’s 
daughter came in with that girl from their place that 
she’s always around with, and they sat at the bar and 
had a coca-cola. 

‘They tell me they ain’t going to let no girls out 


on the streets after six o’clock at night and no girls 
in any of the places,’ Freddy says to Big Lucie’s 

‘That’s what they say.’ 

‘It’s getting to be a hell of a town,’ Freddy says. 

‘Hell of a town is right. You just walk outside to 
get a sandwich and a coca-cola and they arrest you 
and fine you fifteen dollars.’ 

‘That’s all they pick on now,’ says Big Lucie’s 
daughter. ‘Any kind of sporting people. Anybody 
with any sort of a cheerful outlook.’ 

‘If something don’t happen to this town pretty 
quick things are going to be bad.’ 

Just then Harry and the lawyer came back out and 
the lawyer said, ‘You’ll be out there then?’ 

‘Why not bring them here?’ 

‘No. They don’t want to come in. Out there.’ 

‘All right,’ Harry said and stepped up to the bar 
and the lawyer went on out. 

‘What will you have, Al?’ he asked me. 


‘Give us two bacardis, Freddy.’ Then he turned 
to me and said, ‘What are you doing now, Al?’ 

‘Working on the relief.’ 

‘What doing?’ 

‘Digging the sewer. Taking the old streetcar rails 

‘What do you get?’ 

‘Seven and a half.’ 

‘A week?’ 



‘What did you think?’ 

‘How do you drink in here?’ 

‘I wasn’t till you asked me,’ I told him. He edged 
over a little towards me. ‘You want to make a trip?’ 

‘Depends on what it is.’ 

‘We’ll talk about that.’ 

‘All right.’ 

‘Come on out in the car,’ he said. ‘So long, 
Freddy.’ He breathed a little fast the way he did 
when he’s been drinking and I walked up along 
where the street had been tore up, where we’d been 
working all day, to the corner where his car was. 
‘Get in,’ he said. 

‘Where are we going?’ I asked him. 

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘I’m going to find out.’ 

We drove up Whitehead Street and he didn’t say 
anything and at the head of the street he turned to 
the left and we drove across the head of town to 
White Street and out on it to the beach. All the 
time Harry didn’t say anything and we turned on to 
the sand road and drove along it to the boulevard. 
Out on the boulevard he pulled the car over to the 
edge of the sidewalk and stopped. 

‘Some strangers want to charter my boat to make 
a trip,’ he said. 

( The customs got your boat tied up.’ 

‘The strangers don’t know that.’ 

‘What kind of a trip?’ 

‘They say they want to carry somebody over that 
has to go to Cuba to do some business and can’t 



come in by the plane or boat. Bee-lips was telling 

‘Do they do that?’ 

‘Sure. All the time since the revolution. It sounds 
all right. Plenty of people go that way.’ 

‘What about the boat.’ 

‘We’ll have to steal the boat. You know they ain’t 
got her fixed so I can’t start her.’ 

‘How you going to get her out of the sub-base?’ 

Til get her out.’ 

‘How’rc we coming back?’ 

‘I’ll have to figure that. If you don’t want to go, 
say so.’ 

‘I’d just as soon go if there’s any money in it.’ 

‘Listen,’ he said. ‘You’re making seven dollars 
and a half a week. You got three kids in school that 
are hungry at noon. You got a family that their 
bellies hurt and I give you a chance to make a little 

‘You ain’t said how much money. You got to 
have money for taking chances.’ 

‘There ain’t much money in any kind of chances 
now, Al,’ he said. ‘Look at me. I used to make 
thirty-five dollars a day right through the season 
taking people out fishing. Now I get shot and lose an 
arm, and my boat, running a lousy load of liquor 
that’s worth hardly as much as my boat. But let me 
tell you, my kids ain’t going to have their bellies hurt 
and I ain’t going to dig sewers for the government 
for less money than will feed them. I can’t dig now 




anyway. -I don’t know who made the laws but I 
know there ain’t no law that you got to go hungry. 5 

‘I went out on strike against those wages/ I told 

‘And you come back to work/ he said. ‘They said 
you were striking against charity. You always 

worked, didn’t you? You never asked anybody for 

‘There ain’t any work/ I said. ‘There ain’t any 

work at living wages anywhere.’ 


‘I don’t know.’ 

‘Neither do 1/ he said. ‘But my family is going 
to eat as long as anybody eats. What they’re trying 
to do is starve you Conchs out of here so they can 
bum down the shacks and put up apartments and 
make thy* a tourist town. That’s what I hear. I hear 
they’re buying up lots, and then after the poor 
people are starved out and gone somewhere else to 
starve some more they’re going to come in and make 
it into a beauty spot for tourists.’ 

‘You talk like a radical/ I said. 

‘I ain’t no radical/ he said. ‘I’m sore. I been sore 
a long time.’ 

‘Losing your arm don’t make you feel better.’ 

‘The hell with my arm. You lose an arm you lose 
an arm. There’s worse things than lose an arm. 
You’ve got two arms and you’ve got two of some¬ 
thing else. And a man’s still a man with one arm or 
with one of those. The hell with it/ he says. ‘I 

9 3 " 


don’t want to talk about it.’ Then after a minute 
he says, ‘I got those other two still.’ Then he started 
the car and said, ‘Come on, we’ll go see these 

We rode along the boulevard with the breeze 
blowing and a few cars going past and the smell of 
dead sea grass on the cement where the waves had 
gone over the seawall at high tide, Harry driving 
with his left arm. I always liked him all right and 
I’d gone in a boat with him plenty of times in the 
old days, but he was changed now since he lost his 
arm and that fellow down visiting from Washington 
made an affidavit that he saw the boat unloading 
liquor that time, and the customs seized her. When 
he was in a boat he always felt good and without his 
boat he felt plenty bad. I think he was glad of an 
excuse to steal her. He knew he couldn’t keep her 
but maybe he could make a piece of money with her 
while he had her. I needed money bad enough but 
I didn’t want to get in any trouble. I said to him, 
‘You know I don’t want to get in any real trouble, 

‘What worse trouble you going to get in than 
you’re in now?’ he said. ‘What the hell worse 
trouble is there than starving?’ 

‘I’m not starving,’ I said. ‘What the hell you 
always talking about starving for?’ 

‘Maybe you’re not, but your kids are.’ 

‘Cut it out,’ I said. ‘I’ll work with you but you 
can’t talk that way to me.’ 



All right, he said. But be sure you want the 

job. I can get plenty of men in this town. 5 

‘I want it, 5 1 said. T told you I want it) 

‘Then cheer up. 5 

You cheei up, I said. ‘You’re the only one that 5 s 
talking like a radical . 5 

£ Aw, cheer up,’ he said. ‘None of you Conchs has 
any guts.’ 

‘Since when ain’t you a Conch?’ 

‘Since the first good meal I ever ate.’ He was 
mean talking now, all right, and since he was a boy 
he never had no pity for nobody. But he never had 
no pity for himself cither. 

‘All right,’ I said to him. 

‘Take it easy,’ he said. Ahead of us I could sec the 
lights of this place. 

We re going to meet them here,’ Harry said. 
Keep your mouth buttoned up.’ 

‘The hell with you.’ 

‘Aw, take it easy,’ Harry said as we turned into 
the runway and drove around to the back of the 
place. He was a bully and he was bad spoken but I 

always liked him all right. 

• ^^ t 0 P.P e ^ car in back of this place and went 
mto the kitchen where the man’s wife was cooking 

Freda ’' Ha ^ - id 

‘He’s right in there, Harry. Hello, Albert.’ 

Hello, Miss Richards,’ I said. I knew her ever 
since she used to be m jungle town, but two or three 



of the hardest working married women in town used 
to be sporting women and this was a hard working 
woman, I tell you that. ‘Your folks all well?’ she 
asked me. 

‘They’re all fine.’ 

We went on through the kitchen and into this back 
room. There was Bee-lips the lawyer, and four 
Cubans with him, sitting at a table. 

‘Sit down,’ said one of them in English. He was a 
tough looking fellow, heavy, with a big face and a 
voice deep in his throat, and he had been drinking 
plenty you could see. ‘What’s your name?’ 

‘What’s yours?’ said Harry. 

‘All right,’ said this Cuban. ‘Have it your own 
way. Where’s the boat?’ 

‘She’s down at the yacht basin,’ Harry said. 

‘Who’s this?’ the Cuban asked him, looking at me. 

‘My mate,’ Harry said. The Cuban was looking 
me over and the other Cubans were looking us both 
over. ‘He looks hungry,’ the Cuban said and 
laughed. The others didn’t laugh. ‘You want a 

‘All right,’Harry said. 

‘What? Bacardi?’ 

‘Whatever you’re drinking,’ Harry told him. 

‘Does your mate drink?’ 

‘I’ll have one,’ I said. 

‘Nobody asked you yet,’ the big Cuban said. ‘I 
just asked if you drank.’ 

‘Oh, cut it out, Roberto,’ one of the other Cubans, 



a young one, not much more than a kid, said. ‘Can’t 
you do anything without getting nasty?’ 

‘What do you mean nasty? I just asked if he 
drinks. If you hire somebody don’t you ask if he 

‘Give him a drink,’ said the other Cuban. ‘Let’s 
talk business.’ 

‘What you want for the boat, big boy?’ the deep¬ 
voiced Cuban called Roberto asked Harry. 

‘Depends on what you want to do with her’ 
Harry said. ’ 

‘Take the four of us to Cuba.’ 

‘Where in Cuba?’ 

‘Cabanas. Close to Cabanas. Down the coast 
from Mariel. You know where it is?’ 

‘Sure,’ said Harry. ‘Just take you there?’ 

‘That’s all. Take us there and put us ashore.’ 

‘Three hundred dollars.’ 

Too much. What if we charter you by the day 
and guarantee you two weeks’ charter?’ 

‘Forty dollars a day and you put up fifteen hun¬ 
dred dollars for if anything happens to the boat. Do 
I have to clear it?’ 


‘You pay for the gas and oil,’ Harry told them. 

We 11 give you two hundred dollars to take us 
over' there and put us ashore.’ 

‘Hcj>w much do you want?’ 

‘I tiold you.’ 



‘That’s too much.’ 

‘No, it isn’t,’ Harry told him. ‘I don’t know who 
you are. I don’t know what your business is and I 
don’t know who shoots at you. I got to cross the 
Gulf twice in the winter time. Anyway I’m risking 
my boat. I’ll carry you for two hundred and you 
can put up a thousand for a guarantee nothing 
happens to the boat.’ 

‘That’s reasonable,’ Bee-lips told them. ‘That’s 
more than reasonable.’ 

The Cubans started talking in Spanish. I couldn’t 
understand them but I knew Harry could. 

‘All right,’ the big one, Roberto, said. ‘When can 
you start?’ 

‘Any time to-morrow night.’ 

‘Maybe we don’t want to go until the night after,’ 
one of them said. 

‘That’s O.K. with me,’ Harry said. ‘Only let me 
know in time.’ 

‘Is your boat in good shape?’ 

‘Sure,’ said Harry. 

‘She is a nice looking boat,’ the young one of them 

‘Where did you see her?’ 

‘Mr. Simmons, the lawyer here, showed her to me.’ 

‘Oh,’ said Harry. 

‘Have a drink,’ said another of the Cubans. ‘Have 
you been to Cuba much?’ 

‘A few times.’ 

‘Speak Spanish?’ 



‘I never learned it, 5 Harry said. 

I saw Bee-lips the lawyer look at him, but he is 
so crooked himself that he’s always more pleased if 
people aren’t telling the truth. Just like when he 
came in to speak to Harry about this job he couldn’t 
speak to him straight. He had to pretend he wanted 
to see Juan Rodriguez, who is a poor stinking galle- 
go that would steal from his own mother that Bee- 
lips has got indicted again so he can defend him. 

‘Mr. Simmons speaks good Spanish,’ the Cuban 

‘He’s got an education.’ 

‘Can you navigate?’ 

‘I can go and I can come.’ 

‘You’re a fisherman?’ 

‘Yes, sir,’said Harry. 

‘How do you fish with one arm?’ the big faced one 

You just fish twice as fast,’ Harry told him. 
youwant to see me about anything else?’ 


T J hey were all talking Spanish together. ‘Then 

111 go, said Harry* 

‘I’ll let you know about the boat,’ Bee-lips told 
Harry. . 

ZZZ? s T emoney got to be P ut up,’ Harry said. 
We 11 do that to-morrow.’ 

‘Well, good night,’ Harry told them. 

Good night,’ said the young pleasant speaking 
one. The big faced one didn’t say anything. There 



were two others with faces like Indians that hadn’t 
said anything at all any of the time except to talk in 
Spanish to the big faced one. 

‘I’ll see vou later on,’ Bee-lips said. 


‘At Freddy’s.’ 

We went out and through the kitchen again and 
Freda said, ‘How’s Marie, Harry?’ 

‘She’s fine now,’ Harry told her. ‘She’s feeling 
good now,’ and we went out the door. We got in the 
car and he drove back to the boulevard and didn’t 
say anything at all. He was thinking about some¬ 
thing all right. 

‘Should I drop you home?’ 

‘All right.’ 

‘You live out on the county road now?’ 

‘Yes. What about the trip?’ 

‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘I don’t know whether 
there’s going to be any trip. See you to-morrow.’ 

He drops me in front of where we live and I go 
on in and I haven’t got the door open before my old 
woman is giving me hell for staying out and drinking 
and being late to the meal. I ask her how I can drink 
with no money and she says I must be running a 
credit. I ask her who she thinks will give me credit 
when I’m working on the relief and she says to keep 
my rummy breath away from her and sit down to 
the table. So I sit down. The kids are all gone to see 
the baseball game and I sit there at the table and 
she brings the supper and won’t speak to me. 




l f° d With k but what ^oicc have 

Iff Tbe y do “ * «jve you any choice now. I C Z 
/J 80 ' b ut what will the next thing be? I didn’t 
ask for any of this and if you’ve got to do it you’ve 
S °i i? ^ ^ 1 Wouldn’t take Albert. He’s 

He dn * h ^ S Stra , lght and he ’ s a S ood m an in a boat 
He doesn t spook too easy but I don’t know whether 

I ought to take him. But I can’t take no rummy nor 
no nigger. I got to have somebody I can depend on 
If we make it I’ll see he gets a share. But I Ln’t tell 
bm or he wouldn’t go into it and I got to have 
somebody by me. It would be better alone any¬ 
thing is better alone but I don’t think I can handle it 

£ter off if he d ^ aW ^bert is 

Detter oft if he don t know anything about it The 

only flung ts Bee-lip,. There’s Bee-liithat wffl 

SS-T "“ything. Still they mns, have ftou^ 

abnutthat. They must figure on that. Doyousuo- 

£ SS'dS T “ d r b £ WOn ’ t tnow w£t 

tneywdldo? I wonder. Of course mavbe that- 
what they figure to do. Maybe they ain’t going to 

%£££? 5“I ift na tural that’s X 
would do and I heard that word. If they do it thev’ll 

have to do it just when it closes or they’ll have the 



coastguard plane down from Miami. It’s dark now 
at six. She can’t fly it down under an hour. Once 
it’s dark they’re all right. Well, if I’m going to carry 
them I got to figure out about the boat. She won’t 
be hard to get out but if I take her out to-night and 
they find she’s gone they’ll maybe find her. Any¬ 
way there will be a big fuss. To-night’s the only 
time i’ve got to get her out though. I can take her 
out with the tide and I can hide her. I can see what 
she needs if she needs anything, if they’ve taken off 
anything. But I got to fill gas and water. I got a 
hell of a busy night all right. Then when I’ve got 
her hid Albert will have to bring them in a speed 
boat. Maybe Walton’s. I can hire her. Or Bee-lips 
can hire her. That’s better. Bee-lips can help me 
get the boat out to-night. Bee-lips is the one. Be¬ 
cause sure as hell they’ve figured about Bee-lips. 
They’ve got to have figured about Bee-lips. Sup¬ 
pose they figure about me and Albert. Did any 
of them look like sailors? Did any of them seem like 
they were sailors? Let me think? Maybe. The 
pleasant one, maybe. Possibly him, that young one. 
I have to find out about that because if they figure 
on doing without Albert or me from the start there’s 
no way. Sooner or later they will figure on us. But 
in the Gulf you got time. And I’m figuring all the 
time. I’ve got to think right all the time. I can’t 
make a mistake. Not a mistake. Not once. Well, I 
got something to think about now all right. Some¬ 
thing to do and something to think about besides 



wondering what the hell’s going to happen. Besid 
wondering what’s going to happen to the who 
damn thing. Once they put it up. Once you’] 
playing for it. Once you got a chance. Instead i 
just watching it all go to hell. With no boat to mal 
a living with. That Bee-lips. He don’t know wh< 
he s into. He ain’t got any idea what this is goin 
to be like. I hope he shows up pretty soon down < 
Freddy s. I got plenty to do to-night. I better 
something to eat. 5 


It was about nine-thirty when Bee-lips came into 
the place. You could see they had given him plenty 
out at Richard’s because when he drinks it makes 
him cocky and he came in plenty cocky. 

‘Well, big shot,’ he says to Harry. 

‘Don’t big shot me,’ Harry told him. 

‘I want to talk to you, big shot.’ 

‘Where? Back in your office?’ Harry asked him. 

‘Yes, back there. Anybody back there, Freddy?’ 

‘Not since that law. Say, how long are they going 
to have that six o’clock business?’ 

‘Why don’t you retain me to do something about 
it?’ Bee-lips says. 

‘Retain you hell,’ Freddy tells him. And the two 
of them go back there where the booths and the 
cases with the empty bottles are. 

There was one electric light on in the ceiling and 
Harry looked in all the booths where it was dark 
and saw there was no one. 

‘Well?’he said. 

‘They want it for late day after to-morrow after¬ 
noon,’Bee-lips told him. 

‘What they going to do?’ 

‘You speak Spanish,’ Bee-lips said. 

‘You didn’t tell them that though?’ 



‘No. I’m your pal. You know that.’ 

‘You’d rat on your own mother.’ 

Cut it out. Look at what I’m letting you in on. 5 
‘When did you get tough?’ 

Listen, I need the money. I’ve got to get out of 

here. I’m all washed up here. You know that 
Harry.’ ’ 

‘Who don’t know that? 5 

‘You know how they’ve been financing this 
revolution with kidnapping and the rest of it.’ 

‘I know.’ 

‘This is the same sort of thing. They’re doing it 
for a good cause.’ s 

Yeah. But this is here. This is where you were 
born. You know everybody works there.’ 

‘Nothing’s going to happen to anybody.’ 

“With those guys?’ 

‘I thought you had cojones.’ 

I got cojones. Don’t you worry about my cojones. 
ut I m figuring on keeping on living here.’ 

I’m not,’ Bee-lips said. 

Jesus, thought Harry. He’s said it himself. 

I m going to get out,’ Bee-lips said. ‘When are 
you going to get the boat out?’ 


‘Who’s going to help you?’ 


‘J)^ ere you going to put her?’ 

Where I always put her.’ 



There was nothing difficult about getting the boat 
out. It was as simple as Harry had figured it. The 
night watchman made his rounds on the hour and 
the rest of the time he was at the outer gate of the old 
Navy Yard. They came into the basin in a skiff, cut 
her loose on the ebb tide and she went out herself 
with the skiff towing her. Outside, while she drifted 
in the channel, Harry checked the motors and found 
all they had done was disconnect the distributor 
heads. He checked the gas and found she had close 
to a hundred and fifty gallons. They hadn’t 
syphoned any out of the tanks and she had what he 
had left coming across that last time. He had filled 
her up before they started and she had burned very 
little because they had to come across so slow in the 
heavy seas. 

‘I’ve got gas at the house in the tank,’ he told 
Bee-lips. ‘I can take one load of demijohns out with 
me in the car and Albert can bring another if we 
need it. I’m going to put her up in the creek right 
where it crosses the road. They can come out in a 

‘They wanted you to be right at the Porter Dock.’ 

‘How can I lay there with this boat?’ 

‘You can’t. But I don’t think they’ll want to do 
any car driving.’ 

‘Well, we’ll put her there to-night and I can fill 
and do what needs to be done and then shift her. 
You can hire a speed boat to bring them out. I got 
to put her up there now. I got plenty to do. You 


scuil i n and drive out to the bridge and pick me up. 
111 be on the road there in about two hours. I’ll 
leave her and come out to the road.’ 

Til pick you up,’ Bee-lips told him, and Harry 
with the motors throttled down so that she moved 
quietly through the water, swung her around and 
towed the skiff close in to where the riding light of 
the cable schooner showed. He threw the clutches 
out and held the skiff while Bee-lips got in. 

‘•In about two hours,’ he said. 

‘All right,’ said Bee-lips. 

Sitting on the steering seat, moving ahead slowly 
m the dark, keeping well out from the lights at the 
head of the docks, Harry thought, Bee-lips is dointt 
some work for his money all right. Wonder how 
much he thinks he is going to get? I wonder how he 
ever hooked up with those guys. There’s a smart kid 
who had a good chance once. He’s a good lawyer 
too. But it made me cold to hear him say it himself 
He put his mouth on his own self all right. It’s funny 
how a man can mouth something. When I heard 
Inin mouth himself it scared me. 


When he came in the house he did not turn on the 
light but took off his shoes in the hall and went up 
the bare stairs in his stocking feet. He undressed 
and got into bed wearing only his undershirt, before 
his wife woke. In the dark she said, ‘Harry? 5 and he 
said, ‘Go to sleep, old woman 5 . 

‘Harry, what’s the matter? 5 

‘Going to make a trip. 5 

‘Who with? 5 

'Nobody. Albert maybe. 5 

‘Whose boat? 5 

‘I got the boat again. 5 

‘When? 5 

‘To-night. 5 

‘You’ll go to jail, Harry. 5 

‘Nobody knows I’ve got her. 5 

‘Where is she? 5 
‘Hid. 5 

Lying still in the bed he felt her lips on his face 
and searching for him and then her hand on him 
and he rolled over against her close. 

‘Do you want to? 5 

‘Yes. Now. 5 

‘I was asleep. Do. you remember when we’d do it 

‘Listen, do you mind the arm? Don’t it make you 
feel funny?’ 

“ 113 


‘You’re silly. I like it. Any that’s you I like Put it 
a'rossthttePuti,along,here. Goon. I like ii, a? 

U s like a flipper on a loggerhead. 5 

You ain’t no loggerhead. Do they really do it 
three days? Coot for three days?’ 

S 16 ’ listen, be quiet. We’ll wake the girls.’ 
They don t know what I’ve got. They won’t 
never know what I've got. Ah. Harry. That's U 
Ah, you honey.’ 


‘I don’t want no wait. Come on. That’s it. That’s 
wwiasten, did you ever do it with a nig^ 


‘What’s it like?’ 

‘Like nurse shark.’ 

eo <Y I U ^lf Unny ^-? a ; rry ’ 1 wish y° u d Wn’t have to 
go- 1 wish you didn t ever have to go. Who’s the 
best you ever did it with?’ 


TW’ Iie ‘ Y ° U aIWayS Iie t0 me ‘ Tb^e. There. 

‘No. You’re the best.’ 

Tm old, 5 

‘You’ll never be old.’ 

I ve had that thing.’ 

My’^'od' 1 ’ 11 ’' makC ”° > woman's 

hSS: £,Sr d Homt^r? 


she? I think of the damndest things. Look at him, 
sleeping just like a baby. I better stay awake so as 
to call him. Christ, I could do that all night if a man 
was built that way. I’d like to do it and never sleep. 
Never, never, no, never. No, never, never, never. 
Well, think of that, will you. Me at my age. I ain’t 
old. He said I was still good. Forty-five ain’t old. 
I’m two years older than him. Look at him sleep. 
Look at him asleep there like a kid. 

Two hours before it was daylight they were out at 
the gas tank in the garage filling and corking demi¬ 
johns and putting them in the back of the car. Harry 
wore a hook strapped to his right arm and shifted 
and lifted the wicker-covered demijohns handily. 

‘You don’t want no breakfast?’ 

‘When I come back.’ 

‘Don’t you want your coffee?’ 

‘You got it?’ 

‘Sure. I put it on when we came out.’ 

‘Bring it out.’ 

She brought it out and he drank it in the dark 
sitting at the wheel of the car. She took the cup and 
put it on the shelf in the garage. 

‘I’m coming with you to help you handle the 
jugs,’she said. 

‘All right,’ he told her and she got in beside him, 
a big woman, long legged, big handed, big hipped, 
still handsome, a hat pulled down over her bleached 
blonde hair. In the dark and the cold of the morn- 



log they drove out the county road through the mist 
that hung heavy over the flat. 

‘What you worried about, Harry?" 

‘I don’t know. I’m just worried. ^Listen, are you 
letting your hair grow out?’ 

‘I thought I would. The girls have been after me." 
‘The hell with them. You keep it like it is.’ 
T)o you really want me to?’ 

‘Yes,’ he said. ‘That’s the way I like it.’ 

‘You don’t think Tlook too old?’ 

‘You look better than any of them.’ 

‘I’ll fix it up then. I can make it blonder if you 
like it.’ 

‘What have the girls got to say about what you 

do?’ Harry said, ‘They got no business to bother 

‘You know how they are. You know young girls 
arc that way. Listen, if you make a good trip, we’ll 
go to New Orleans, should we?’ 


‘Well, Miami anyway. And we’ll leave them 


‘I got some trip to make first.’ 

‘You aren’t worried, are you?’ 


‘You know I lay awake almost four hours just 

thinking about you.’ 

‘You’re some old woman.’ 

T can think about you any time and get excited.’ 
‘Well, we got to fill this gas now,’ Harry told her. 


At ten o’clock in the morning in Freddy’s place 
Harry was standing in against the bar with four or 
five others, and two customs men had just left. They 
had asked him about the boat and he had said he 
did not know anything about it. 

‘Where were you last night?’ one of them asked 

Here and at home.’ 

How late were you here?’ 

‘Until the place shut.’ 

‘Anybody see you here?’ 

‘Plenty of people,’ Freddy said. 

.‘What’s the matter?’ Harry asked them. ‘Do you 
think I’d steal my own boat? What would I do with 

I just asked you where you were,’ the customs 
house officer said. ‘Don’t get plugged.’ 

‘I’m not plugged,’ Harry said. ‘I was plugged 
back when they seized the boat without any proof 
she carried liquor.’ 7 p 

‘There was an affidavit sworn to,’ the customs 
man said. It wasn’t my affidavit. You know the 
man that made it.’ 

All right,’ said Harry. ‘Only don’t say I’m 
plugged at you asking me. I’d rather you had her 

WW U *t, ^ C T * ^ a c ^ ance to get her back. 

What chance I got if she’s stolen?’ 



‘None, I guess/ said the customs man. 

‘Well, go peddle your papers/ Harry said. 
‘Don’t get snotty/ said the customs man, ‘or I’ll 
see you get something to be snotty about.’ 

‘After fifteen years/ said Harry. 

‘You haven’t been snotty fifteen years.’ 

‘No, and I haven’t been in jail either.’ 

‘Well, don’t be snotty or you will be.’ 

‘Take it easy/ Harry said. Just then this goofy 
Cuban that drives a taxi came in with a fellow from 
the plane and Big Rodger says to him, 

‘Hayzooz, they tell me you had a baby.’ 

‘Yes, sir, 9 says Hayzooz very proudly. 

‘When did you get married?’ Rodger asked him. 
‘Lasta month. Montha for last. You come the 

‘No/ said Rodger. ‘I didn’t come the wedding.’ 
‘You missa something/ said Hayzooz. ‘You missa 
damn fine wedding. Whas a matta you no come?’ 
‘You didn’t ask me.’ 

‘Oh, yes/ said Hayzooz. ‘I forget. I didn’t ask 
you . . . You get what you want?’ he asked the 


‘Yes, I think so. Is that the best price you have on 

‘Yes, sir/ Freddy told him. ‘That’s the real carta 
del oro.’ 

‘Listen, Hayzooz, what makes you think that’s 

your baby?’ Rodger asks him. ‘That’s not your 

Ww 5 


‘What you mean not my baby? What you mean? 
By God, I no let you talk like that! What you mean 
not my baby? You buy the cow you no get the calf? 
That’s my baby. My God, yes. My baby. Belong 
to me. Yes, sir? ° 

He goes out with the stranger and the bottle of 
Bacardi and the laugh is on Rodger all right. That 
Hayzooz is a character all right. Him and that 
other Cuban, Sweetwater. 

Just then in comes Bee-lips the lawyer, and he 
says to Harry, ‘The customs just went out to take 
your boat.’ 

Harry looked at him and you could see the murder 
come in his face. Bee-lips went on in this same 
tone without any expression in it. ‘Somebody saw 
it in the mangroves from the top of one of those 
high WPA ^trucks and called up from where 
they re building the camp out at Boca Chica to the 
customs house. I just saw Herman Frederichs. 
He told me.’ 

, ..{? arr y didn>t sa y anything, but you could see the 
ng go out of his face and his eyes came open 
natural again. Then he said to Bee-lips, ‘You hear 
everything, don’t you?’ 

‘I thought you’d like to know,’ Bee-lips said in 
tnat same expressionless voice. 

Its none of my concern,’ Harry said. ‘They 
might to take better care of a boat than that.’ 

1 he two of them stood there at the bar and neither 
one said anything until Big Rodger and the two or 



three others had drifted out. Then they went in 
the back. 

‘You’re poison,’ Harry said. ‘Everything you 
touch is poison.’ 

‘Is it my fault a truck could see it? You picked 
the place. You hid your own boat.’ 

‘Shut up,’ Harry said. ‘Did they ever have high 
trucks like that before? That’s the last chance I 
had to make any honest money. That’s the last 
chance I got to go in a boat where there’s any 

‘I let you know as soon as it happened.’ 

‘You’re like a buzzard.’ 

‘Cut it out,’ Bee-lips said. ‘They want to go late 
this afternoon now.’ 

‘The hell they do.’ 

‘They’re getting nervous about something.’ 

‘What time do they want to go?’ 

‘Five o’clock.’ 

‘I’ll get a boat. I’ll carry them to hell.’ 

‘That isn’t a bad idea.’ 

‘Don’t mouth that now. Keep your mouth off 
my business.’ 

‘Listen, you big murdering slob,’ said Bee-lips, 
‘I try to help you out and get you in on some¬ 
thing . . .’ 

‘And all you do is poison me. Shut up. You’re 
poison to anybody that ever touched you.’ 

‘Cut it out, you bully.’ 

‘Take it easy,’ Harry said. ‘I got to think. All 


I’ve done is think one thing out and I got it thought, 
out and now I got to think out something else.’ 
‘Why don’t you let me help you?’ 

‘You come here at twelve o’clock and bring that 
money to put up for the boat.’ 

As they came out Albert came up to the place and 
went up to Harry. 

‘I’m sorry, Albert, I can’t use you,’ Harry said. 
He had thought it out that far already. 

‘I’d go cheap,’ Albert said. 

‘I’m sorry,’ Harry said. ‘I got no need for you 

‘You won’t get a good man for what I’ll go for,’ 
Albert said. 

‘I’m going by myself.’ 11 

‘You don’t w -1 ' to make a trip like that alone,’ 
Albert said. 

‘Shut up,’ said Irl Vy. ‘What do you know about 
it? Do they teach you pry business on the relief?’ 

‘Go to hell,’ said Albert. 

^ ‘Maybe I will,’ said Harry. Anybody looking at 
him could tell he was thinking plenty fast and he 
did not want to be bothered. 

‘I’d like to go,’ Albert said. 

‘I can’t use you,’ Harry said. ‘Let me alone, 
will you?’ 

Albert went out and Harry stood there at the 
bar looking at the nickel machine, the two HW 
machines and the quarter machine and at the 



picture of Custer's Last Stand on the wall as though 
he’d never seen them. 

That was a good one Hayzooz told Big Rodger 
about the baby, wasn’t it?’ Freddy said to him, 
putting some coffee glasses in the bucket of soapy 

‘Give me a package of Chesterfields,’ Harry said 
to him. He held the package under the flap of his 
arm and opened it at one corner, took a cigarette 
out and put it in his mouth, then dropped the 
package in his pocket and lit the cigarette. 

‘What shape’s your boat In, Freddy?’ he asked. 

‘I just had her on the ways,’ Freddy said. c She’s 
in good shape.’ 

‘Do you want to charter her?’ 

‘What for?’ 

Tor a trip across.’ 

‘Not unless they put up the value of her.’ 

‘What’s she worth?’ 

‘Twelve hundred dollars.’ 

‘I’ll charter her,’ Harry said. ‘Will you trust me 

on her?’ 

‘No,’ Freddy told him. 

‘I’ll put up the house as security.’ 

‘I don’t want your house. I want twelve hundred 
bucks up.’ 

‘All right,’ Harry said. 

‘Bring arount the money,’ Freddy told him. 

‘When Bee-lips comes in, tell him to wait for 
me/ Harry said and went out. 



Out at the house Marie and the girls were having 
lunch. 6 

‘Hello, Daddy,’ said the oldest girl. ‘Here’s 

‘What have you got to eat?’ Harry asked. 

‘‘We’ve got a steak,’ Marie said. 

‘Somebody said they stole your boat, Daddy.’ 

‘They found her,’ Harry said. 

Marie looked at him. 

‘Who found her?’ she asked. 

‘The customs.’ 

‘Oh, Harry,’ she said, full of pity. 

‘Isn’t it better they found her, Daddy?’ asked the 
second one of the girls. 

‘Don’t talk while you’re eating,’ Harry told her. 
‘Where’s my dinner? What you waiting for ? ’ 

Tm bringing it.’ ' 

I m in a hurry,’ Harry said. ‘You girls eat up 
and get out. I got to talk to your mother.’ 

‘Gm we have some money to go to the show this 
aft. Daddy?’ 

‘Why don’t you go swimming. That’s free.’ 

Oh, Daddy, it’s too cold to go swimming, and we 
want to go to the show.’ 

All right,’ said Harry. ‘All right.’ 

When the girls were out of the room he said to 
Mane, ‘Gut it up, will you?’ 


'Sure, Honey.’ 

She cut the meat as for a small boy. 

'Thanks/ Harry said. Tra a hell of a goddamn 
nuisance, ain’t I? Those girls aren’t much, are they? ’ 
'No, Hon.’ 

'Funny we couldn’t get no boys.’ 

'That’s because you’re such a man. That way it 
always comes out girls.’ 

'I ain’t no hell of a man/ Harry said. 'Rut 

listen, I’m going on a hell of a trip.’ 

‘Tell me about the boat.’ 

‘They saw it from a truck. A high truck.’ 

‘Worse than that. S—.’ 

‘Aw; Harry, don’t talk like that in the house.’ 

‘You talk worse than that in bed sometimes.’ 
'That’s different. I don’t like to hear s— at my 
own table.’ 

'Oh, s—.’ 

‘Aw, Honey, you feel bad/ Marie said. 

■ ‘No/ said Harry. ‘Im just thinking.’ . 

‘Well, you think it out. I got confidence in you.’ 
‘I got confidence. That’s the only thing I have 

'Do you want to tell me about it?’ 

‘No. Only don’t worry no matter what you 

'I won’t worry.’ 

'Listen, Marie. Go on up to the upstairs trap and 

bring me the Thompson gun and look in that 

' *25 


wooden box with the shells and see all the dins are 
filled.’ F 

‘Don’t take that.’ 

‘I got to.’ 

‘Do you want any boxes of shells?’ 

‘No. I can’t load any clips. I got four clips.’ 

‘Honey, you aren’t going on that kind of a trip?’ 

‘I’m going on a bad trip.’ 

Oh, God,’ she said. ‘Oh, God, I wish you didn’t 
have to do these things.’ 

‘Go on and get it and bring it down here. Get 
me some coffee.’ 

‘O.K.,’ said Marie. She leaned over the table 
and kissed him on the mouth. 

‘Leave me alone,’ Harry said. ‘I got to think.’ 

He sat at the table and looked at the piano, the 
sideboard and the radio, the picture of September 
Morn, and the pictures of the cupids holding bows 
behind their heads, the shiny, real-oak table and the 
shiny real-oak chairs and the curtains on the 
windows and he thought, What chance have I to 
eiy'oy my home? Why am I back to worse 
where I started? It’ll be all gone too if I don’t play 
this right. The hell it will. I haven’t got sixty bucks 
kft outside of the house, but I’ll get a stake out of 
tins. Those damn girls. That’s all that old woman 
and I could get with what we’ve got. Do you 
suppose the boys in her went before I knew her? 

Here it is,’ said Marie, carrying it by the web 
slmg strap. ‘They’re all full.’ 



‘I got to go/ Harry said. He lifted the chunky 
weight of the dismounted gun in its oil-stained, 

canvas-web case. Tut it under the front seat of the 
car . 5 

‘Good-bye/ Marie said. 

c Good-bye, old woman . 5 

£ I won’t worry. But please take care of yourself . 5 

‘Be good . 5 

‘Aw, Harry/ she said and held him tight against 


‘Let me go. I ain’t got no time . 5 

He patted her on the back with his arm stump. 

‘You and your loggerhead flipper/ she said. 
‘Oh, Harry. Be careful.’ 

‘I got to go. Good-bye, old woman.’ 

‘Good-bye, Harry.’ 

She watched him go out of the house, tall, wide¬ 
shouldered, flat-backed, his^ hips narrow, moving, 
still, she thought, like some kind of animal, easy 
and swift and not old yet, he moves so light and 
smooth-like, she thought, and when he got in the 
car she saw him blond, with the sunburned hair, 
his face with the broad mongol cheek bones, and 
the narrow eyes, the nose broken at the bridge, the 
wide mouth and the round jaw, and getting in the 
car he grinned at her and she began to cry. e His 
goddamn face/ she thought. ‘Every time I see his 
goddamn face it makes me want to cry . 5 



There were three tourists at the bar at Freddy’s 
and Freddy was serving them. One was a very 
tall, thin, wide-shouldered man, in shorts, wearing 
tluck-lensed spectacles, tanned, with small closely 
trimmed sandy moustache. The woman with him 
had her blonde curly hair cut short like a man’s a 
bad complexion, and the face and build of a lady 
wrestler. She wore shorts, too. y 

‘Oh, nerts to you,’ she was saying to the third 
tourist, who had a rather swollen reddish face a 
rusty-coloured moustache, a white cloth hat with a 
green celluloid visor, and a trick of talking with a 
rather extraordinary movement of his lips as though 
he were eating something too hot for comfort. 

‘How charming,’ said the green-visored ’ man. 

1 d never heard the expression actually used in 
conversation. I thought it was an obsolete phrase 
something one saw in print in - er - the funnv 
papers but never heard.’ 1 

Nerts, nerts, double nerts to you,’ said the lady 
wrestler m a sudden access of charm, giving him 
the benefit of her pimpled profile. 

, v ^ ow beautiful,’ said the green-visored man. 

You put it so prettily. Isn’t it from Brooklyn 
originally?’ y 

You mustn’t mind her. She’s my wife,’ the tall 
tourist said. ‘Have you two met?’ 



‘Oh, nerts to him and double nerts to meeting 
him,’ said the wife. ‘How do you do?’ 

‘Not so badly,’ the green-visored man said. 
‘How do you do?’ 

‘She does marvellously,’ the tall one said. ‘You 
ought to see her.’ 

Just then Harry came in and the tall tourist’s 
wife said, ‘Isn’t he wonderful? That’s what I want. 
Buy me that, Papa.’ 

‘Can I speak to you?’ Harry said to Freddy. 

‘Certainly. Go right ahead and say anything you 
like,’ the tall tourist’s wife said. 

‘Shut up, you whore,’ Harry said. ‘Come in the 
back, Freddy.’ 

In the back was Bee-lips, waiting at the table. 

‘Hello, Big Boy,’ he said to Harry. 

‘Shut up,’ said Harry. 

‘Listen,’ Freddy said. ‘Cut it out. You can’t 
get away with that. You can’t call my trade names 
like that. You can’t call a lady a whore in a decent 
place like this.’ 

‘A whore,’ said Harry. ‘Hear what she said to me?’ 

‘Well, anyway, don’t call her a name like that to 
her face.’ 

‘All right. You got the money?’ 

‘Of course,’ said Bee-lips. ‘Why wouldn’t I have 
the money? Didn’t I say I’d have the money?’ 

‘Let’s see it.’ 

Bee-lips handed it over. Harry counted ten 
hundred-dollar bills and four twenties. 



‘Oh, nerts to him and double nerts to meeting 
him,’ said the wife. ‘How do you do? 5 

‘Not so badly,’ the green-visored man said. 
‘How do you do?’ 

‘She does marvellously, 5 the tall one said. ‘You 
ought to see her.’ 

Just then Harry came in and the tall tourist’s 
wife said, ‘Isn’t he wonderful? That’s what I want. 
Buy me that, Papa.’ 

‘Can I speak to you?’ Harry said to Freddy. 

‘Certainly. Go right ahead and say anything you 
like,’ the tall tourist’s wife said. 

‘Shut up, you whore,’ Harry said. ‘Come in the 
back, Freddy.’ 

In the back was Bee-lips, waiting at the table. 

‘Hello, Big Boy,’ he said to Harry. 

‘Shut up,’ said Harry. 

‘Listen,’ Freddy said. ‘Cut it out. You can’t 
get away with that. You can’t call my trade names 
like that. You can’t call a lady a whore in a decent 
place like this.’ 

‘A whore,’ said Harry. ‘Hear what she said to me?’ 

‘Well, anyway, don’t call her a name like that to 
her face.’ 

‘All right. You got the money?’ 

‘Of course,’ said Bee-lips. ‘Why wouldn’t I have 
the money? Didn’t I say I’d have the money?’ 

‘Let’s see it.’ 

Bee-lips handed it over. Harry counted ten 
hundred-dollar bills and four twenties. 



‘It should be twelve hundred.’ 

‘Less my commission,’ said Bee-lips. 

‘Come on with it.’ 


‘Come on.’ 

‘Don’t be silly.’ 

‘You miserable little crut.’ 

‘You big bully,’ Bee-lips said. ‘Don’t try to strong 
arm it away from me because I haven’t got it here.’ 

‘I see,’ said Harry. ‘I should have thought of 
that. Listen, Freddy. You’ve known me a long 
time. I know she’s worth twelve hundred. This is a 
hundred and twenty short. Take it and take a 
chance on the hundred and twenty and the charter.’ 
^ ‘That’s three hundred and twenty dollars,’ 
Freddy said. It was a painful sum for him to name 
as a risk, and he sweated while he thought about it. 

‘I got a car and a radio in the house that’s good 
for it.’ a 

‘I can make out a paper on that,’ Bee-lips said. 

‘I don’t want any paper,’ Freddy said. He sweat 
again and his voice was hesitant. Then he said, ‘All 
right, 111 take a chance. But for Christ’s sake be 
careful with the boat, will you Harry?’ 

‘Like it was my own.’ 

‘You lost your own,’ said Freddy, still sweating, 
his suffering now intensified by that memory. 

‘I’ll take care of her.’ 

‘I’ll put the money in my box in the bank,’ 
Freddy said. 



Harry looked at Bee-lips. 

‘That’s a good place,’ he said, and grinned. 

‘Bartender,’ some one called from the front. 

‘That’s you,’ Harry said. 

‘Bartender,’ came the voice again. 

Freddy went out to the front. 

"That man insulted me,’ Harry could hear the 
high voice saying, but he was talking to Bee-lips. 

‘I’ll be tied up to the dock there at the front of the 
street. It isn’t half a block.’ 

‘All right.’ 

‘That’s all.’ 

‘All right, Big Shot.’ 

‘Don’t you big shot me.’ 

‘However you like.’ 

‘I’ll be there from four o’clock on.’ 

‘Anything else?’ 

‘They got to take me by force, see? I know 
nothing about it. I’m just working on the engine. 
I got nothing aboard to make a trip. I’ve hired her 
from Freddy to go charter fishing. They’ve got to 
hold a gun on me to make me start her and they’ve 
got to cut loose the lines.’ 

‘What about Freddy? You didn’t hire her to go 
fishing from him.’ 

‘I’m going to tell Freddy.’ 

‘You better not.’ 

‘I’m going to.’ 

‘You better not.’ 

‘Listen, I’ve done business with Freddy since 


during the war. Twice I’ve been partners with hin 
^id we never had trouble. You know how mud 
stuff I ve handled for him. He’s the only son-of-a 
Ditch in this town I would trust. 5 
£ I wouldn’t trust anybody.’ 

‘Tom shouldn’t. Not after the experiences you’w 

had with yourself . 5 
‘Lay off me. 5 

‘All right. Go out and see your friends. What’' 

your out ? 5 

They’re Cubans. I met them out at the road- 
house. One of them wants to cash a certified cheque 
What s wrong with that?’ 

^And you don’t notice anything?’ 

No. I tell them to meet me at the bank.’ 

‘Who drives them?’ 

‘Some taxi.’ 

he supposed to think they are, violinists?’ 
We II get one that don’t think. There’s plenty of 
them that can’t think in this town. Look at 

rlayzooz . 5 

Hayzooz is smart. He just talks funnv 5 

Til have them call a stupid one.’ 

‘Get one hasn’t any kids.’ 

, • got Ever see a taxi driver without 


‘You are a goddamn rat.’ 

‘Well, I never killed anybody,’ Bee-lips told him. 
Nor you never will. Come on, let’s get out of 
here. Just being with you makes me feel crummy.’ 



‘Maybe you are crummy.’ 

‘Can you get them from talking?’ 

‘If you don’t paper your mouth.’ 

‘Paper yours then.’ 

‘I’m going to get a drink,’ Harry said. 

Out in front the three tourists sat on their high 
stools. As Harry came up to the bar the woman 
looked away from him to register disgust. 

‘What will you have?’ asked Freddy. 

‘What’s the lady drinking?’ Harry asked. 

‘A Cuba Libre.’ 

‘Then give me a straight whisky.’ 

The tall tourist with the little sandy moustache 
and the thick-lensed glasses leaned his large, straight¬ 
nosed face over toward Harry and said, ‘Say, what’s 
the idea of talking that way to my wife?’ 

Harry looked him up and down and said to 
Freddy, ‘What kind of a place you running?’ 

‘What about it?’ the tall one said. 

‘Take it easy,’ Harry said to him. 

‘You can’t pull that with me.’ 

‘Listen,’ Harry said. ‘You came down here to 
get well and strong, didn’t you? Take it easy.’ 
And he went out. 

‘I should have hit him, I guess,’ the tall tourist 
said. ‘What do you think, dear?’ 

‘I wish I was a man,’ his wife said. 

‘You’d go a long way with that build,’ the green- 
visored man said into his beer. 



What did you say?’ the tall one asked. 

I said you could find out his name and address 
~ e hlm a letter telling him what you think 

‘Say, what’s your name, anyway? What are you 
doing, kidding me?’ y 

Just call me Professor MacWalsey.’ 

‘My name’s Laughton,’ the tall one said. ‘I’m 
a writer.’ 

.T-g lad to meet you,’ Professor MacWalsey 
said. Do you write often?’ ‘ 

The tall man looked around him. ‘Let’s get out 
of here, dear,’ he said. ‘Everybody is either 
insulting or nuts.’ 

‘It’s a strange place,’ said Professor MacWalsey 
Fascinating, really. They call it the Gibraltar of 
America and it’s three hundred and seventy-five 
miles south of Cairo, Egypt. But this place is the 
only part of it I’ve had time to see yet. It’s a fine 
place though.’ 

T see you’re a professor all right,’ the wife said, 
xou know, I like you.’ 

•'I y° u too > darling,’ Professor MacWalsey 
said. But I have to go now.’ 

He got up and went out to look for his bicycle 
^ Everybody is nuts here,’ the tall man said, 
onould we have another drink, dear?’ 

I liked the professor,’ the wife said. ‘He had a 
sweet manner.’ 

That other fellow . . 



Oh, he had a beautiful face,’ the wife said. ‘Like 

a Tartar or something. I wish he hadn’t been 
insulting. He looked kind of like Jenghiz Khan in 
the face. Gee, he was big.’ 

‘He had only one arm,’ her husband said. 

T didn’t notice,’ the wife said.’ ‘Should we have 
another drink? I wonder who’ll come in next!’ 
‘Maybe Tamerlane,’ the husband said. 

‘Gee, you’re educated,’ the wife said. ‘But that 
Jenghiz Khan one would do me. Why did the 
Professor like to hear me say nerts?’ 

I don’t know, dear,’ Laughton, the writer, said. 
‘I never did.’ 

‘He seemed to like me for what I really am,’ the 
wife said. ‘My, he was nice,’ 

‘You’ll probably see him again.’ 

‘Any time you come in here you’ll see Am, 9 
Freddy said. ‘He lives in here. He’s been here for 
two weeks now.’ 

‘Who’s the other one who speaks so rude?’ 

‘Him? Oh, he’s a fellow from around here.’ 
‘What does he do?’ 

‘Oh, a little of everything,’ Freddy told her. 
‘He’s a fisherman.’ 

‘How did he lose his arm?’ 

‘I don’t know. He got it hurt some way.’ 

‘Gee, he’s beautiful,’ the wife said. 

Freddy laughed. ‘I heard him called a lot of 
things but I never heard him called that.’ 

‘Don’t you think he has a beautiful face?’ 



a Z^iV* e ^ 7, kdy / Fredd y told her. ‘He’s got 
a face like a ham with a broken nose on it.’ S 

dr“m S ' Upid ’’ *' ™ fe said ' ‘ He ’ s “Y 

‘He’s a bad-dream man, 5 Freddy said. 

stunid WritCr Sat there with a s °rt of 

^upid bok on his face except when he’d look at his 

STa 7 ' Anyone would have to be a writer 

man to W a wife look like that, 
Freddy thought. God, isn’t she awful? 

Just then in came Albert. 

‘Where’s Harry?’ 

Down at the dock.’ 

‘Thanks,’ said Albert. 

. He ™ ent out and the wife and the writer kept on 
sitting there and Freddy stood there worrying a P bout 
the boat and thinking how his legs hurt from 
standing up all day. He had put a grfting over the 

le e r n l f n ? dn,t Seem to do ®“ch good, ffis 
legs ached all the toe. Still he was doing a good 

overhead ** anybody in town and with less 

what kfnH J W ° man Was Soofy all right. And 
like that tf v man . V Y as l would P ick out a woman 
shut, thought: fteJfy.* Hot°Un b^o^ 

4is. w ?L« d ” l r ni i; d drinks - 

‘Yes, sir,’ he said. ‘Right away.’ 

tanned-faced, sandy-haired, well-built man 

1 Federal Emergency Relief Administration 


wearing a striped fisherman’s shirt and khaki shorts 
came in with a very pretty girl who wore a thin, 
white wool sweater and dark blue slacks. 

"If it isn’t Richard Gordon , 5 said Laughton, 
standing up, "with the lovely Miss Helen . 5 

"Hello, Laughton , 5 said Richard Gordon. "Did 
you see anything of a rummy professor around here ? 5 

"He just went out , 5 said Freddy. 

"Do you want a vermouth, sweetheart ? 5 Richard 
Gordon asked his wife. 

"If you do , 5 she said. Then said, "Hello , 5 to the 
two Laughtons. "Make mine two parts of French 
to one Italian, Freddy . 5 

She sat on a high stool with her legs tucked under 
her and looked out at the street. Freddy looked at 
her admiringly. He thought she was the prettiest 
stranger in Key West that winter. Prettier even 
than the famous beautiful Mrs. Bradley. Mrs. 
Bradley was getting a little big. This girl had a 
lovely Irish face, dark hair that curled almost to 
her shoulders and smooth clear skin. Freddy looked 
at her brown hand holding the glass. 

"How’s the work ? 5 Laughton asked Richard 

Tra going all right , 5 Gordon said. "How are you 
doing? 5 

"James won’t work , 5 Mrs. Laughton said. "He 
just drinks . 5 

"Say, who is this Professor MacWalsey ? 5 Laughton 




Oh, he s some sort of professor of economics I 
think, on a sabbatical year or something. He’s a 
friend of Helen’s.’ 

‘I like him,’ said Helen Gordon. 

‘I like him, too,’ said Mrs. Laughton. 

( I liked him first,’ Helen Gordon said happily. 

4 Oh, you can have him,’ Mrs. Laughton said. 
‘You good little girls always get what you want.’ 

‘That’s what makes us so good,’ said Helen 

‘I’ll have another vermouth,’ said Richard 
Gordon. ‘Have a drink?’ he asked the Laughtons. 

Why not,’ said Laughton. ‘Say, are you going 
to that big party the Bradleys are throwing to¬ 

‘Of course he is,’ said Helen Gordon. 

‘I like her, you know,’ said Richard Gordon. 
‘She interests me both as a woman and as a social 

Gee, said Mrs. Laughton. ‘You can talk as 
educated as the Professor.’ 

‘Don’t strut your illiteracy, dear,’ said Laughton. 

‘Do people go to bed with a social phenomenon?’ 
asked Helen Gordon looking out the door. 

‘Don’t talk rot,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘I mean is it part of the homework of a writer?’ 
Helen asked. 

‘A writer has to know about everything,’ Richard 
Gordon said. ‘He can’t restrict his experience to 
conform to bourgeois standards.’ 



‘Oh/ said Helen Gordon. ‘And what does a 

writer’s wife do?’ 

‘Plenty, I guess,’ Mrs. Laughton said. ‘Say, you 
ought to have seen the man who was just in here 
and insulted me and James. He was terrific.’ 

‘I should have hit him,’ Laughton said. 

‘He was really terrific,’ said Mrs. Laughton. 

‘I’m going home,’ said Helen Gordon. ‘Are you 
coming, Dick?’ 

‘I thought I’d stay down town a while,’ Richard 

Gordon said. 

‘Yes?’ said Helen Gordon, looking in the mirror 

behind Freddy’s head. 

‘Yes,’ Richard Gordon said. 

Freddy, looking at her, figured that she was going 
to cry. He hoped it wouldn’t happen in the place. 

‘Don’t you want another drink?’ Richard Gordon 
asked her. 

‘No.’ She shook her head. 

‘Say, what’s the matter with you?’ asked Mrs. 
Laughton. ‘Aren’t you having a good time?’ 

‘A dandy time,’ said Helen Gordon. ‘But I think 
I’d better go home just the same.’ 

‘I’ll be back early,’ Richard Gordon said. 

‘Don’t bother,’ she told him. She went out. 
She hadn’t cried. She hadn’t found John Mac- 
Walsey .either. 



Down at the dock Harry Morgan had driven up 
alongside of where the boat lay, seen there was no 
one around, lifted the front seat of his car, skidded 
the flat, web, oil-heavy case out and dropped it 
down into the cockpit of the launch. 

He got in himself and opened the engine hatch 
and put the machine-gun case below out of sight. 
He turned on the gas valves and started both 
engines. The starboard engine ran smoothly after a 
couple of minutes, but the port engine missed on the 
second and fourth cylinders and he found the plugs 
were cracked, looked for some new plugs, but 
couldn’t find them. 

‘Got to get plugs and fill gas,’ he thought. 

Below with the engines, he opened the machine- 
gun case and fitted the stock to the gun. He found 
two pieces of fan belting and four screws, and cutting 
slits in the belting rigged a sling to hold the gun 
under the cockpit floor to the left of the hatch; just 
over the port engine. It lay there, cradled easily, 
and he shoved a clip from the four held in the web 
pockets in the case up into the gun. Kneeling 
between the two engines he reached up to take the 
gun. There were only two movements to make. 
First unhook the strap of belting that passed around 
the receiver just behind the bolt. Then pull the 



gun out of the other loop. He tried it and it came 
easily one-handed. He pushed the little lever all 
the way over from semi-automatic to automatic 
and made sure the safety was on. Then he fastened 
it up again. He could not figure out where to put 
the extra clips; so he shoved the case under a gas 
tank below, where he could reach it, with the butts 
of the clips lying toward his hand. If I go down a 
time first after we’re under way, I can put a couple 
in my pocket, he thought. Be better not to have it 
on for something might jar the damn thing off. 

He stood up. It was a fine clear afternoon, 
pleasant, not cold, with a light north breeze. It was 
a nice afternoon all right. The tide was running out 
and there were two pelicans sitting on the piling 
at the edge of the channel. A grunt fishing boat, 
painted dark green, chugged past on the way 
around to the fish market, the negro fisherman 
sitting in the stern holding the tiller. Harry looked 
out across the water, smooth with the wind blowing 
with the tide, grey blue in the afternoon sun, out to 
the sandy island formed when the channel was 
dredged where the shark camp had been located. 
There were white gulls flying over the island. 

c Be a pretty night , 5 Harry thought. ‘Be a nice 
night to cross . 5 

He was sweating a little from being down around 
the engines, and he straightened up and wiped his 
face with a piece of waste. 

There was Albert on the dock. 



*? arry ’’ saicJ ' * w * s h you’d carry me 

What s the matter with you now?’ 

‘They’re only going to give us three days a weel 
on the relief now. I just heard about it this moraine 

I got to do something . 5 6 

‘All right,’ said Harry. He had been thinkins 
again. All right.’ s 

That s good,’ said Albert. ‘I was afraid to go 
home to see my old woman. She gave me hell this 
noon like it was me had laid off the relief.’ 

What s the matter with your old woman?’ asked 
Harry cheerfully. ‘Why don’t you smack her ? ’ 

You smack her,’ Albert said. ‘I’d like to hear 
what she’d say. She’s some old woman to talk.’ 

Listen, Al,’ Harry told him. ‘Take my car and 
this and go around to the Marine Hardware and 
get six metric plugs like this one. Then go get a 
20 -cent piece of ice and half a dozen mullets 
, t two tms of coffee, four tins of corn-beef, two 
loaves of bread, some sugar and two tins of con¬ 
densed milk. Stop at the Sinclair and tell them to 
come down here and put in a hundred and fifty 
gallons. Get back as soon as you can and change 
the number two and the number four plugs in the 
port engine counting back from the flywheel. 
Tell them 111 be back to pay for the gas. They can 

mC at Freddy ’ s - Gan you remember 
airthat? Were taking a party out tarponing and 
fishing them to-morrow.’ 

‘It’s too cold for tarpon,’Albert said. 



‘The party says no/ ■ Harry told him. 

‘Hadn’t I better get a dozen mullets ? 5 Albert 
asked. ‘In case the jacks tear ’em up? There’s 
plenty jacks now in those channels.’ 

‘Well, make it a dozen. But get back inside an 
' hour and have the gas filled.’ 

‘Why you want to put in so much gas?’ 

‘We may be running early and late and not have 
time to fill.’ 

‘What’s become of those Cubans that wanted to 
be carried?’ 

‘Haven’t heard anything more from them.’ 

‘That was a good job.’ 

‘This is a good job too. Come on, get going.’ 

‘What am I going to be working for?’ 

‘Five bucks a day/ said Harry. ‘If you don’t 

want it don’t take it.’ 

‘All right/ said Albert. ‘Which plugs was it?’ 

‘The number two and the number four counting 
back from the flywheel/ Harry told him. Albert 
nodded his head. T guess I can remember/ he said. 
He got into the car and made a turn in it and went 
off up the street. 

From where Harry stood in the boat he could see 
the brick and stone building and the front entrance 
of the First State Trust and Savings Bank. It was 
just a block down at the foot of the street. He 
couldn’t see the side entrance. He looked at his 
watch. It was a little after two o’clock. He shut the 
engine hatch and climbed up on the dock. Well, 



now it comes off or it doesn’t, he thought I’ ve 
done what I can now. I’ll go up and see Freddy 
and then 111 come back and wait. He turned to the 
right as he left the dock and walked down a back 
street so that he would not pass the bank. 

I 44 


In at Freddy’s he wanted to tell him about it 
but he couldn’t. There wasn’t anybody in the bar 
and he sat on a stool and wanted to tell him, but 
it was impossible. As he was ready to tell him he 
knew Freddy would not stand for it. In the old 
days, maybe, yes, but not now. Maybe not in 
the old days either. It wasn’t until he thought of 
telling it to Freddy that he realized how bad it was. 
I could stay right here, he thought, and there 
wouldn’t be anything. I could stay right here and 
have a few drinks and get hot and I wouldn’t be 
in it. Except there’s my gun on the boat. But 
nobody knows it’s mine except the old woman. 
I got it in Cuba on a trip the time when I peddled 
those others. Nobody knows I’ve got it. I could 
stay here now and I’d be out of it. But what the 
hell would they eat on? Where’s the money 
coming from to keep Marie and the girls? I’ve got 
no boat, no cash, I got no education. What can a 
one-armed man work at? All I’ve got is my cojones 
to peddle. I could stay right here and have say 
five more drinks and it would be all over. It would 
be too late then. I could just let it all slide and do 

‘Give me a drink,’ he said to Freddy. 


k 145 


I could sell the house and we could rent until I 
got some kind of work. What kind of work? No 
kind of work. I could go down to the bank and 
squeal now and what would I get? Thanks. Sure. 
I hanks. One bunch of Cuban government bastards 
cost me my arm shooting at me with a load when 
they had no need to and another bunch of U.S. ones 
took my boat. Now I can give up my home and 
get thanks. No thanks. The hell with it, he thought 
I got no choice in it. S 

He wanted to tell Freddy so there would be some 
one knew what he was doing. But he couldn’t tell 
him because- Freddy wouldn’t stand for it. He was 
making good money now. There was nobody much 
in the daytime, but every night the place was full 
until two o’clock. Freddy wasn’t in a jam. He knew 
he wouldn’t stand for it. I have to do it alone he 
thought, with that poor bloody Albert. Christ’ he 
looked hungrier than ever down at the dock. There 
were Conchs that would starve to death before 
they’d steal all right. Plenty in this town with their 
bellies hollering right now. But they’d never make 
a move. They’d just starve a little every day 
They started starving when they were born: some 
of them. 

‘Listen, Freddy,’ he said. T want a couple of 

‘Of what?’ 





Tull the corks, will you? You know I wanted to 
charter her to take some Cubans over.’ 

That’s what you said. 5 

‘I don’t know when they’ll be going. Maybe to¬ 
night. I haven’t heard.’ 

‘She’s ready to go any time. You’ve got a nice 
night if you cross to-night.’ 

They said something about going fishing this 

‘She’s got tackle on board if the pelicans haven’t 
stole it off her.’ 

‘It’s still there.’ 

‘Well, make a good trip,’ Freddy said. 

Thanks. Give me another one, will you?’ 

‘Of what?’ 


‘I thought you were drinking Bacardi.’ 

‘I’ll drink that if I get cold going across.’ 

‘You’ll cross with this breeze astern all the way,' 
said Freddy. ‘I’d like to cross to-night.’ 

‘It’ll be a pretty night all right. Let me have 
another, will you?’ 

Just then in came the tall tourist and his wife. 

‘If it isn’t my dream man,’ she said, and sat 
down on the stool beside Harry. 

He took one look at her and stood up. 

‘I’ll be back, Freddy,’ he said. ‘I’m going 
down to the boat in case that party wants to 
go fishing.’ 

‘Don ? t go,’ the wife said. ‘Please don’t go.’ 


^‘You’re comical,’ Harry said to her and he went 

srr r ° n * n 

&adlev ad n y W T ld bC al0ne ’ She ™Jdte h °M? 

KS"s r.rci'ss'E'S 

would come by the house. Y ‘ haps hc 



Albert was on board the boat and the gas was 

Til start her up and try how those two cylinders 
hit , 3 Harry said. ‘You got the things stowed ? 3 

‘Yes . 3 

‘Cut some baits then , 3 

‘You want a wide bait ? 3 

‘That’s right. For tarpon . 3 

Albert was on the stern cutting baits and Harry 
was at the wheel warming up the motors when he 
heard a noise like a motor backfiring. He looked 
down the street and saw a man come out of the 
bank. He had a gun in his hand and he came 
running. Then he was out of sight. Two more men 
came out carrying leather brief cases and guns in 
their hands and ran in the same direction. Harry 
looked at Albert busy cutting baits. The fourth 
man, the big one, came out of the bank door as he 
watched, holding a Thompson gun in front of him, 
and as he backed out of the door the siren in the 
bank rose in a long breath-holding shriek and Harry 
saw the gun muzzle jump-jump-jump-jump and 
heard the bop-bop-bop-bop, small and hollow 
sounding in the wail of the siren. The man turned 
and ran, stopping to fire once more at the bank 
door, arid as Albert stood up in the stern saying, 



‘Christ, they’re robbing the bank. Christ, what can 
we do?’ Harry heard tire Ford taxi coming out of 
the side street and saw it careening up on to the 

There were three Cubans in the back and one 
beside the driver. 

‘Where’s the boat?’ yelled one in Spanish. 

‘There, you fool,’ said another. 

‘That’s not the boat.’ 

‘That’s the captain.’ 

‘Come on. Come on for Christ sake.’ 

‘Get out,’ said the Cuban to the driver. ‘Get 
your hands up.’ 

As the driver stood beside the car he put a knife 
inside his belt and ripping it toward him cut the belt 
and slit his pants almost to the knee. He yanked the 
trousers down. ‘Stand still,’ he said. The two 
Cubans with the valises tossed them into the cock¬ 
pit of the launch and they all came tumbling 

‘Geta going,’ said one. The big one with the 
machine-gun poked it into Harry’s back. 

‘Come on, Cappie,’ he said. ‘Let’s go.’ 

Take it easy,’ said Harry. ‘Point that some place 

‘Cast off those lines,’ the big one said. ‘You!’ to 

‘Wait a minute,’ Albert said. ‘Don’t start her. 
These are the bank robbers. ’ 

The biggest Cuban turned and swung the Thomp- 


son gun and held it on Albert. ‘Hey, don't! Don't!’ 
Albert said. ‘Don’t!’ 

The burst was so close to his chest that the bullets 
whocked like three slaps. Albert slid down on his 
knees, his eyes wide, his mouth open. He looked 
like he was still trying to say, ‘Don’t!’ 

‘You don’t need no mate,’ the big Cuban said. 
‘You one-armed son-of-a-bitch.’ Then in Spanish, 
‘Cut those lines with that fish knife.’ And in 
English,‘Come on, Let’s go’. 

Then in Spanish, ‘Put a gun against his back!’ 
and in English, ‘Come on. Let’s go. I’ll blow your 
head off.’ 

‘We’ll go,’ said Harry. 

One of the Indian-looking Cubans was holding a 
pistol against the side his bad arm was on. The 
muzzle almost touched the hook. 

As he swung her out, spinning the wheel with his 
good arm, he looked astern to watch the clearance past 
the piling, and saw Albert on his knees in the stern, 
his head slipped sidewise now, in a pool of it. On 
the dock was the Ford taxi, and the fat driver in his 
underdrawers, his trousers around his ankles, his 
hands above his head, his mouth open as wide as Al¬ 
bert’s. There was still no one coming down the street. 

The pilings of the dock went past as she came out 
of the basin and then he was in the channel passing 
the lighthouse dock. 

‘Come on. Hook her up,’ the big Cuban said. 
‘Make some time.’ 



‘Take that gun away,’ Harry said. He was 
thinking, I could run her on Crawfish bar, but sure 
sis hell that Cuban would plug me. 

_ <Ma ! ce go,: said the big Cuban. Then, in 
Spanish, Lie down flat, everybody. Keep the 
;aptain covered.’ He lay down himself in the stern 
nulling Albert flat down into the cockpit. The other 
hree all lay flat in the cockpit now. Harry sat on 
he steering seat. He was looking ahead steering 
>ut the channel, past the opening into the sub-base 
tow, with the notice board to yachts and the green 
•linker, out away from the jetty, past the fort now 
•ast the red blinker; he looked back. The big 
mban had a green box of shells out of his pocket 
nd was filling clips. The gun lay by his side and 
e was filling clips without looking at them, filling 
y feel, looking back over the stern. The others 
rere all looking astern except the one that was 
•atchmg him. This one, one of the two Indian- 
•oking ones, motioned with his pistol for him to look 
head. No boat had started after them yet. The 
igines were running smoothly and they were 
hng with the tide. He noticed the heavy slant 
awards of the buoy he passed, with the current 
wrhng at its base. 

There are two speedboats that could catch us 
arry was thinking. One, Ray’s, is running the 
ail from Matecumbe. Where is the other? I saw 
:r a couple of days ago on Ed. Taylor’s ways, he 
lecked. That was the one I thought of having 
r 52 


Bee-lips hire. There’s two more, he remembered 
now. One the State Road Department has up 
along the keys. The other’s laid up in the Garrison 
Bight. How far are we now? He looked back to 
where the fort was well -astern, the red-brick 
building of the old post office starting to show up 
above the navy yard buildings and the yellow hotel 
building now dominating the short skyline of the 
town. There was the cove at the fort, and the 
lighthouse showed above the houses that strung out 
toward the big winter hotel. Four miles anyway, he 
thought. There they come, he thought. Two white 
fishing boats were rounding the breakwater and 
heading out toward him. They can’t do ten, he 
thought. It’s pitiful. 

The Cubans were chattering in Spanish. 

‘How fast you going, Cappie?’ the big one said, 
looking back from the stem. 

‘About twelve,’ Harry said. 

‘What can those boats do?’ 

‘Maybe ten . 5 

They were all watching them now, even the one 
who was supposed to keep him, Harry, covered. 
But what can I do? He thought Nothing to do 

The two white boats got no, larger. 

‘Look at that, Roberto,’ said the nice-speaking 

‘Where?’ ■ 


J 53 ' 


A long way back, so far you could hardly see it 
a little spout rose in the water. y See 11 

one sald.^/fsTilly^ ^ ^ ^ pleasant -speakin ? 

«ta? r m S?’ s sake ’ thc b «- fa “ d «“ -a. •* 

Tour,’ thought Harry. ‘All of four.’ 

surfa^bm ’ht SCe u he tin 7 Spouts rise on the calm 
surtace but he could not hear the shots. 

wn^T, 00 5 are Pitifu1 ’’ he th ought. ‘They’re 

worse. They’re comical.’ y e 

tK^ a r S °7 ernment boat is there, Cappie?’ asked 

‘What can she make?’ 

‘Maybe twelve.’ 

‘Then we’re O.K. now?’ 

Harry did not answer. 

‘Aren’t we O.K. then?’ 

Harry said nothing. He was keeping the rising 

starboard Tn 5 Y shoals .^ed almost abeam to 
the reef ' 1 m ° re mmutes th ey would be past 

^at’s the matter with you? Can’t you talk?’ 

What did you ask iu6? J 

;is there anything can catch us now?’ 

Coast-guard plane,’ said Harry. 

toJT’ the rtL td ? h ° n l wire before we <*meAn 
, the pleasant-speaking one said. 



‘You didn’t cut the wireless, did you ? 5 Harry 

‘You think the plane can get here ? 5 

‘You got a chance of her until dark , 5 Harry said. 

‘What do you think, Cappie? 5 asked Roberto, the 
big-faced one. 

Harry did not answer. 

‘Come on, what do you think ? 5 

‘What did you let that son of a bitch kill my mate 
for ? 5 Harry said to the pleasant-speaking one who 
was standing beside him now looking at the compass 

‘Shut up , 5 said Roberto. ‘Kill you, too . 5 

‘How much money you get ? 5 Harry asked the 
pleasant-speaking one.' 

‘We don’t know. We haven’t counted it yet. It 
isn’t ours, anyway. 5 

‘I guess not, 5 said Harry. He was past the light 
now and he put her on 225 0 , his regular course 

for Havana. 

‘I mean we do it not for ourselves. For a revolu¬ 
tionary organization.’ 

‘You kill my mate for that, too?’ 

‘I am very sorry, 5 said the boy. ‘I cannot tell 
you how badly I feel about that. 5 

‘Don’t try, 5 said Harry. 

‘You see, 5 the boy said, speaking quietly, ‘this 
man Roberto is bad. He is a good revolutionary 
but a bad man. He kills so much in the time of 
Machado he gets to like it. He thinks it is funny to 



kill He kills in a good cause, of course. The best 

cause. He looked back at Roberto who sat nowin 
one of the fishing chairs in the stern, the Thompson 
gun across his lap, looking back at the white boats 
S WCre ’ Harr y saw > m uch smaller now 

theTern. y ° U g0t t0 drink? ’ R ° bert ° Called from. 

‘Nothing,’ Harry said. 

T drink my own, then,’ Roberto said. One of the 
other Cubans lay on one of the seats built over the 
gas tanks. He looked seasick already. The other 
was obviously seasick too, but still sitting up 
Looking back, Harry saw a lead-coloured boat 
bo T ts dear ° f the fort ’ c °ming up on the two white 

■ShSpi,’Llt 0 , COaS * Piard - brat >' b ' ‘Wht. 

spolen toyt£d !CaP,ane 

on^L da r k “ halfan hour >’ Harry said. He setded 
KilHng me?" 5 ^ <What Y ° U fi § Ure ° n doin S ? 

cwl° n ’ t Waat !°’’ the b °y said. ‘I hate killing.’ 

vin^fd°l d0m f’ R ° bert0 ’ who sat ™w with a 
pmt of whisky m his hand asked. ‘Making friends 

captai^tabk? What *° do? Eat a. the 

cou25‘ T* Wl ’" 1 ’’ Ba 7 r Said ,0 ,he b °y. 'See the 

fro mt he s Tna7d“t?A Staight “ Cd 



‘Let me have a drink/ Harry said' to Roberto. 
‘There’s your coast-guard boat but she can’t catch 

He had abandoned anger, hatred and any dignity 
as luxuries, now, and had started to plan. 

‘Sure,’ said Roberto. ‘She can’t catch us. Look 
at those seasick babies. What you say? You want a 
drink? You got any other last wishes, Cappie?’ 

‘You’re some kidder,’ Harry said. He took a long 

‘Go easy!’ Roberto protested. ‘That’s all there 

‘I got some more,’ Harry told him. ‘I was just 

kidding you.’ 

‘Don’t kid me,’ said Roberto suspiciously. 

‘Why should I try?’ 

‘What you got?’ 


‘Bring it out.’ 

‘Take it easy,’ Harry said. ‘Why do you get so 


He stepped over Albert’s body as he walked 
forward. As he came to the wheel he looked at the 
compass. The boy was about twenty-five degrees off 
and the compass dial was swinging. He’s no sailor, 
Harry thought. That gives me more time. Look at 
the wake. 

The wake ran in two bubbling curves toward 
where the light, astern now, showed brown, conical 
and thinly latticed on the horizon. The boats were 



almost out of sight. He could just see a blur where 
the wireless masts of the town were. The engines 
were running smoothly. Harry put his head below 
and reached for one of the bottles of Bacardi. He 
went aft with it. At the stern he took a drink then 
landed the bottle to Roberto. Standing, he looked 
iown at Albert and he felt sick inside. The Door 
lungry bastard, he thought. 

‘What’s the matter? He scare you?’ the big-faced 
Cuban asked. & 

‘What you say we put him over?’ Harry said 

No sense to carry him/ 

said Roberto. ‘You got good sense.’ 
lake him under the arms,’said Harry. ‘I’ll take 
the legs.’ Roberto laid the Thompson gun down on 
the wide stern and leaning down lifted the body 
oy the shoulders. 1 

‘You know the heaviest thing in the world is a 

4«%p« ,said ' You cver lm a dead man 

woman?’ Said Hany * ' Y ° U CVer lift a bi & dead 

‘Youv/Zt PU u d „ the , b l ° dy U P on to the stern. 
You re a tough fellow,’ he said. ‘What do you say 
we have a drink?’ you say 

Go ahead,’ said Harry. 

Tisten Pm sorry I killed him,’ Roberto said. 
When I kill you I feel worse.’ 

Cut out talking that way,’ Harry said. ‘What 
do you want to talk that way for?’ 



‘Come on,’ said Roberto. ‘Over he goes.’ 

As they leaned over and slid the body up and 
over the stem, Harry kicked the machine-gun over 
the edge. It splashed at the same time Albert did, 
but while Albert turned over twice in the white, 
churned, bubbling back-suction of the propeller 
wash before sinking, the gun went straight down. 

‘That’s better, eh?’ Roberto said. ‘Make it ship¬ 
shape.’ Then as he saw the gun was gone, ‘Where 
is it? What did you do with it?’ 

‘With what?’ 

‘The ametralladoraV going into Spanish in excite¬ 

‘The what?’ 

‘You know what.’ 

‘I didn’t see it.’ 

‘You knocked it off the stern. Now I’ll kill you, 
now .’ 

‘Take it easy,’ said Harry. ‘What the hell you 
going to kill me about?’ 

‘Give me a gun,’ Roberto said to one of the sea¬ 
sick Cubans in Spanish. ‘Give me a gun quick!’ 

Harry stood there, never having felt so tall, never 
having felt so wide, feeling the sweat trickle from 
under his armpits, feeling it go down his flanks. 

‘You kill too much,’ he heard the seasick Cuban 
say in Spanish. ‘You kill the mate. Now you want 
to kill the captain. Who’s going to get us across?’ 

‘Leave him alone,’ said the other. ‘Kill him when 
we get over.’ 



‘He knocked the machine-gun overboard 5 
Roberto said. 5 

‘We got the money. What you want a machine- 
gun for now? There’s plenty of machine-guns in 

‘I tell you, you make a mistake if you don’t kill 
him now, I tell you. Give me a gun.’ 

‘Oh, shut up. You’re drunk. Every time you’re 
drunk you want to kill somebody.’ 

‘Have a drink,’ said Harry looking out across 
the grey swell of the Gulf Stream where the round 
red sun was just touching the water. ‘Watch that. 
When she goes all the way under it’ll turn bright 

‘The hell with that,’ said the big-faced Cuban. 
‘You think you got away with something.’ 

‘I’ll get you another gun,’ said Harry. ‘They only 
cost^ forty-five dollars in Cuba. Take it easy. 
You re all right now. There ain’t any coast-guard 
plane going to come now.’ 

‘I’m going to kill you,’ Roberto said, looking him 
over. ‘You did that on purpose. That’s why you 
got me to lift on that.’ 

‘You don’t want to kill me,’ Harry said. ‘Who’s 
going to take you across?’ 

‘I ought to kill you now.’ 

Take it easy,’ said Harry. ‘I’m going to look at 
the engines.’ 

He opened the hatch, got down in, screwed down 
the grease cups on the two stuffing boxes, felt the 



motors, and with his hand touched the butt of the 
Thompson gun. Not yet, he thought. No, better 
not yet. Christ, that was lucky. What the hell 

difference does it make to Albert when he’s dead? 
Saves his old woman to bury him. That big-faced 
bastard. That big-faced murdering bastard. Christ, 
Fd like to take him now. But I better wait. 

He stood up, climbed out and shut the hatch. 

‘How you doing?’ he said to Roberto. He put his 
hand on the fat shoulder. The big-faced Cuban 
looked at him and did not say anything. 

‘Did you see it turn green ? 5 Hany asked. 

‘The hell with you, 5 Roberto said. He was drunk 
but he was suspicious, and, like an animal, he knew 
how wrong something had gone. 

‘Let me take her a while, 5 Harry said to the boy 
at the wheel. ‘What’s your name? 5 

‘You can call me Emilio, 5 said the boy. 

‘Go below and you’ll find something to eat, 5 
Harry said. ‘There’s bread and corn-beef. Make 
coffee if you want. 5 

T don’t want any . 5 

‘Fll make some later, 5 Harry said. He sat at the 
wheel, the binnacle light on now, holding her on 
the point easily in the light following sea, looking 
out at the night coming on the water. He had no 
running lights on. 

It would be a pretty night to cross, he thought, 
a pretty night. Soon as the last of that afterglow is 
gone I’ve got to work her east. If I don’t, we’ll 


sight the glare of Havana in another hour. In two 
anyway. Soon as he sees the glare it may occur to 
that son of a bitch to kill me. That was lucky getting 
rid of that gun. Damn, that was lucky. Wonder 
what that Marie’s having for supper. I guess she’s 
plenty worried. I guess she’s too worried to eat 
Wonder how much money those bastards have got' 
Funny they don’t count it. If that ain’t a hell of a 
way to raise money for a revolution. Cubans are a 
hell of a people. 

That’s a mean boy, that Roberto. I’ll get him 
to-night. I get him no matter how the rest of it 
comes out. That won’t help that poor damned 
Albert though. It made me feel bad to dump him 
like that. I don t know what made me think of it. 

He lit a cigarette and smoked in the dark. 

I’m doing all right, he thought. I’m doing better 
than I expected. The kid is a kind of nice kid. 
I wish I could get those other two on the same side. 

I wish there was some way to bunch them. Well 
111 have to do the best I can. Easier I can maW 
them take it beforehand the better. Smoother 
everything goes the better. 

‘Do you want a sandwich?’ the boy asked. 

Thanks, said Harry. ‘You give one to your 
partner?’ ■ 

‘He’s drinking. He won’t eat,’ the boy said. 

What about the others? 5 

‘Seasick/ the boy said, 

‘It’s a nice night to cross,’ Harry said. He 



noticed the boy did not watch the compass so he 
kept letting her go off to the east. 

Td enjoy it/ the boy said. c If it wasn’t for your 

£ He was a good fellow/ said Harry. ‘Did any 
one get hurt at the bank?’ 

‘The lawyer. What was his name, Simmons.’ 

‘Get killed?’ 

‘I think so.’ 

So, thought Harry. Mr. Ree-lips. What the hell 
did he expect? How could he have thought he 
wouldn’t get it? That comes from playing at being 
tough. That comes from being too smart too often. 
Mr. Bee-lips. Good-bye, Mr. Bee-lips. 

‘How he come to get killed?’ 

‘I guess you can imagine,’ the boy said. ‘That’s 
very different from your mate. I feel badly about 
that. You know he doesn’t mean to do wrong. 
It’s just what that phase of the revolution has done 
to him.’ 

‘I guess he’s probably a good fellow/ Harry said, 
and thought, Listen to what my mouth says. God 
damn it, my mouth will say anything. But I got to 
try to make a friend of this boy in case . 

‘What kind of revolution do you make now?’ he 

‘We are the only true revolutionary party/ the 
boy said. ‘We want to do away with all the old 
politicians, with all the American imperialism that 
strangles us, with the tyranny of the army. We want 



to start clean and give every man a chance. We 
want to end the slavery of the guajiros , you know 
the peasants, and divide the big sugar estates among 
the people that work them. But we are not 

Harry looked up from the compass card at him. 

‘How you coming on?’ he asked. 

‘We just raise money now for the fight,’ the boy 
said. ‘To do that we have to use means that later 
we would never use. Also we have to use people we 
would not employ later. But the end is worth the 
means. They had to do the same thing in Russia. 
Stalin was a sort of brigand for many years before 
the revolution.’ 

He s a radical, Harry thought. That’s what he is 
a radical. ’ 

T guess you’ve got a good programme,’ he said, 
it you re out to help the working man. I was out on 
strike plenty times in the old days when we had the 
cigar factories in Key West. I’d have been glad 
to do whatever I could if I’d known what kind of 
outfit you were . 9 

‘Lots of people would help us,’ the boy said. 
But because of the state the movement is in at 
present we can’t trust people. I regret the necessity 
tor the present phase very much. I hate terrorism. 

1 also feel very badly about the methods for raising 
toe necessary money. But there is no choice. You 
do not know how bad things are in Cuba.’ 

‘I guess' they’re plenty bad,’ Harry said. 



‘You can’t know how bad they are. There is an 
absolutely murderous tyranny that extends ■ over 
every little village in the country. Three people 
cannot be together on the street. Cuba has no 
foreign enemies and doesn’t need any army, but 
she has an army of twenty-five thousand now, and 
the army, from the corporals up, suck the blood 
from the nation. Everyone, even the private 
soldiers, are out to make their fortunes. Now they 
have a military reserve with every kind of crook, 
bully and informer of the old days of Machado in it, 
and they take anything the army does not bother 
with. We have to get rid of the army before anything 
can start. Before we were ruled by clubs. Now we 
are ruled by rifles, pistols, machine-guns, and 

Tt sounds bad , 3 Harry said, steering, and letting 

her go off to the eastward. 

‘You cannot realize how bad it is, 3 - the boy said. 
T love my poor country and I would do anything, 
anything to free it from this tyranny we have now. 
I do things I hate. But I would do things I hate a 
thousand times more. 3 

I want a drink, Harry was thinking. What the 

hell do I care about his revolution. F- his 

revolution. To help the working man he robs a bank 
and kills a fellow works with him and then kills that 
poor damned Albert that never did any harm. 
That’s a working man he kills. He never thinks of 
that. With a family. It’s the Cubans run Cuba. 



TJey all double cross each other. They sell each 
other out. They get what they deserve 7 The heh 
wxth their revolutions. All I got to do is to make a 
mng for my family and I can’t do that. Then he 
tells me about his revolution. The hell with his 
revolution. nis 

‘lT St l 5ad ’ - aU right ’’ he said to th e boy 
drink.* hC Whed a mmute ’ wiI1 y° u? 1 want to get a 

Sure, said the boy. ‘How should I steer 3 ’ 

I wo twenty-five,’ Harry said. 

It was dark now and there was quite a swell this 
far °u, m the Gulf Stream. He paied the Two set 
sick Cubans lying out on the seats and went aft to 
where Roberto sat in the fishing chair. The water 

whh r v m f Pa - t th u b ° at in the darL Roberto sat 

turned feet ,™. the other Ashing chair that was 
turned toward him. 

Jet me have some of that,’ Harry said to him. 
is nfine*’ ^ S£UC ^ the big-faced man thickly. ‘This 

, ^ght, said Harry, and went forward to get 

nght arm > he pulled the cork 
AaMFreddy had drawn and reinserted and took a 

No^ene’ “ ^ *>' ^d tO himself. 

The Ke "° W a ¥*“' b °T’ ! "Poke his piece, 

sidt basta J d , dnml[ ; the other two sea- 

sick, it might as well be now. 



He took another drink and the Bacardi warmed 
and helped him but he felt cold and hollow all 
around his stomach still. His whole insides were cold. 

‘Want a drink?’ he asked the boy at the wheel. 

‘No, thanks,’ the boy said. ‘I don’t drink.’ Harry 
could see him smile in the binnacle light. He was a 
nice-looking boy all right. Pleasant talking, too. 

‘I’ll take one,’ he said. He swallowed a big one 
but it could not warm the dank cold part that had 
spread from his stomach to all over the inside of his 
chest now. He put the botde down on the cockpit 

‘Keep her on that course,’ he said to the boy. 
‘I’m going to have a look at the motors.’ 

He opened the hatch and stepped down. Then 
locked the hatch up with a long hook that set into 
a hole in the flooring. He stooped over the motors, 
with his one hand felt the water manifold, the 
cylinders, and put his hand on the stuffing boxes. 
He tightened the two grease cups a turn and a half 
each. Quit stalling, he said to himself. Come on, 
quit stalling. Where’re your balls now? Under my 
chin, I guess, he thought. 

He looked out of the hatch. He could almost 
touch the two seats over the gas tanks where the 
seasick men lay. The boy’s back was toward him, 
sitting on the high stool, outlined clearly by the 
binnacle light. Turning, he could see Roberto 
sprawled in the chair in the stern, silhouetted against 
the dark water. 



Twenty-one to a clip is four bursts of five at the 
most, he thought. I got to be light-fingered. AH 
right. Come on. Quit stalling, you gutless wonder 
Christ, what I’d give for another one. Well, there 
isn’t any other one now. He reached his left hand 
up, unhooked the length of belting, put his hand 
around the trigger guard, pushed the safety all the 
way over with his thumb and pulled the gun out. 
Squatting in the engine pit he sighted carefully on 
the back of the boy’s head where it outlined against 
the light from the binnacle. 

The gun made a big flame in the dark and the 
shells ratded against the lifted hatch and on to the 
engine. Before the slump of the boy’s body fell from 
the stool he had turned and shot into the figure on 
the left bunk, holding the jerking, flame-stabbing 
gun almost against the man, so close he could smell 
it burn his coat; then swung to put a burst into the 
other bunk where the man was sitting up, tugging 
at his pistol. He crouched low now and looked 
astern. _ The big-faced man was gone out of the 
chair. He could see both chairs silhouetted. Behind 
him the boy lay still. There wasn’t any doubt about 
him. On one bunk a man was flopping. On the 
other, he could see with the corner of his eye, a man 
lay half over the gunwale, fallen over on his face. 

_ Harry was trying to locate the big-faced man in 
me dark, ihe boat was going in a circle now and 
the cockpit lightened a little. He held his breath 
and looked. That must be him where it was a little 



darker on the floor in the corner. He watched ii 
and it moved a little. That was him. 

The man was crawling toward him. No, toward 
the man who lay half overboard. He was after h is 
gun. Crouching low, Harry watched him move 
until he was absolutely sure. Then he gave him a 
burst. The gun lighted him on hands and knees, 
and, as the flame and the bot-bot-bot-bot stopped, 
he heard him flopping heavily. 

c You son of a bitch, 5 said Harry. c You big-faced 
murdering bastard. 5 

All the cold was gone from around his heart now 
and he had the old hollow, singing feeling and ht 
crouched low down and felt under the square 
wood-crated gas tank for another clip to put ir 
the gun. He got the clip, but his hand was cold¬ 
drying wet. 

Hit the tank, he said to himself. Pve got to cu 
the engines. I don’t know where that tank cuts. 

He pressed the curved lever, dropped the empt) 
clip, shoved in the fresh one, and climbed up anc 
out of the cockpit. 

As he stood up, holding the Thompson gun in hi 
left hand, looking around before shutting the hatcl 
with the hook on his right arm, the Cuban who hac 
lain on the port bunk and had been shot three time 
through the left shoulder, two shots going into tiu 
gas tank, sat up, took careful aim, and shot him ii 
the belly.' 

Harry sat down in a backward lurch. He felt a 



though he had been struck in the abdomen with a 
club. His back was against one of the iron-pipe 
supports of the fishing chairs and while the Cuban 
shot at him again and splintered the fishing chair 
above his head, he reached down, found the 
Thompson gun, raised it carefully, holding the for¬ 
ward grip with the hook and rattled half of the fresh 
clip into the man who sat leaning forward calmly 
shooting at him from the seat. The man was down 
on the seat in a heap and Harry felt around on the 
cockpit floor until he could find the big-faced man 
who lay face down, felt for his head with the hook 
on his bad arm, hooked it around, then put the 
muzzle of the gun against the head and touched 
the trigger. Touching the head, the gun made a 
noise like hitting a pumpkin with a club. Harry put 

down the gun and lay on his side on the cockpit 

floor. r 

I m a son of a bitch,’ he said, his lips against the 
planking. I m a gone son of a bitch now. I got to 

cut the engines or we’ll all bum up, he thought. 
I got a chance still. I got a kind of a chance. Jesus 
Christ. One thing to spoil it. One thing to go 
wrong. God damn it. Oh, God damn that Cuban 
bastard. Who’d have thought I hadn’t got him? 

Tie got on his hands and knees and letting one 
side of the hatch over the engines slam down, 
crawled over it forward to where the steering stool 
was. He pulled up on it, surprised to find how well 
he could move, then suddenly feeling faint and weak 


as he stood erect, he leaned forward with his bad 

arm resting on the compass and cut the two 
switches. The engines were quiet and he could 
hear the water against her sides. There was no other 
sound. She swung into the trough of the little sea 
the North wind had raised and began to roll. 

He hung against the wheel, then eased himself on 
to the steering stool, leaning against the chart table. 
He could feel the strength drain out of him in a 
steady faint nausea. He opened his shirt with his 
good hand and felt the hole with the base of the 
palm of his hand, then fingered it. There was very 
little bleeding. All inside, he thought. I better lie 
down and give it a chance to quiet. 

The moon was up now and he could see what was 
in the cockpit. 

Some mess, he thought, some hell of a mess. 
Better get down before I fall down, he thought 
and he lowered himself down to the cockpit floor. 
He lay on his side and then, as the boat rolled, 

the moonlight came in and he could see everything 
in the cockpit clearly. 

It’s crowded, he thought. That’s what it is, it’s 

crowded. Then, he thought, I wonder what shell 
do. I wonder what Marie will do? Maybe they’ll 
pay her the rewards. God damn that Cuban. Shell 
get along, I guess. She’s a smart woman. I guess 
we would all have gotten along. I guess' it was nuts 
all right. I guess I bit off too much more than T 
could chew. I shouldn’t have tried it. I had it ail 

* 7 * 


5 ppcn U ed.*°X w^couM^’" ‘‘T h °“ » 

Marie. Plenty money on this boat!"? don’t^ 
know how much. Anybody be OK i? 

sTe^Td Wh f llaPPenCd ‘ C ^ U w °nder^what 
a job in •» fl ° n 1 knOW * 1 gucss 1 should have got 

qS tryinf^r- a K° n ° f ^f cthing - * should have 
4uu trying to go in boats. There’s m hr, 

™U S Tf h°V! S a T m ° rC ' If the bitch wouldnh only 
roll. If she’d only quit rolling, r can feel Tl 

sloppmg back and forth inside Me Mr R 

^ Albert. Everybody thlfhad to do St 
Some ba f ta , rds , t00 ; II must be an unlucky business! 

ought to do [ busmess - I guess what a man like me 
gftt to do is run something like a filling station 

COU u ldn 4 run no filling station. Marie S 
run someth^ She’s too old to peddle her W 

tn fair 1 Wish tblS bltcb wouldn’t roll. I’ll j ust have 
T , ke 11 e f s y- 1 got to take it as easy as I can 
hey say if you don’t drink water and lav still’ 

hI iZT Cia t if yOU wlr tllL 

coSpit at What ^ moonIi ght showed in the 

Ta^itistthir 6 1° Cl r m her Up ’ he thought 

rve votmli, , S Wbat 1 Sot to do. Take it easy. 

i. ve got to take it as easv T t? ■ ■ 

a chance. If you u^tS 1 T* 1 Y e sort of 

water. y ^ stI mid don t drink any 



He lay on his back and tried to breathe steadily. 
The launch rolled in the Gulf Stream swell and 
Harry Morgan lay on his back in the cockpit. At 
first he tried to brace himself against the roll with 
his good hand. Then he lay quietly and took it. 



The next morning in Key West Richard Gordon was 
on his way home from a visit to Freddy’s Bar where 
he had gone to ask about the bank robbery. Riding 
his bicycle, he passed a heavy-set, big, blue-eyed 
woman, with bleached-blonde hair showing under 
her old man’s felt hat, hurrying across the road 
her eyes red from crying. Look at that big ox, he 
thought. What do you suppose a woman like that 
thinks about? What do you suppose she does in bed? 
How does her husband feel about her when she gets 
that size. Who do you suppose he runs around with 
m this town? Wasn’t she an appalling looking 
woman? Like a battleship. Terrific. 

He was almost home now. He left his bicycle on 
the front porch and went in the hallway, closing the 
front door the termites had tunnelled and riddled. 

‘What did you find out, Dick?’ his wife called 
from the kitchen. 

Don t talk to me,’ he said. ‘I’m going to work. 
I have it all in my head.’ 

That s fine, she said. ‘I’ll leave you alone.’ 
^He sat down at the big table in the front room. 
He was writing a novel about a strike in a textile 
factory. In to-day’s chapter he was going to use the 
big woman with the tear-reddened eyes he had just 
seen on the way home. Her husband when he came 



home at night hated her, hated the way she had 
coarsened and grown heavy, was repelled by her 
bleached hair, her too big breasts, her lack of sym¬ 
pathy with his. work as an organizer. He would 
compare her to the young, firm-breasted, full¬ 
lipped little Jewess that had spoken at the meeting 
that evening. It was good. It was, it could be easily, 
terrific, and it was true. He had seen, in a flash of 
perception, the whole inner life of that type of 

Her early indifference to her husband’s caresses. 
Her desire for children and security. Her lack of 
sympathy with her husband’s aims. Her sad 
attempts to simulate an interest in the sexual act 
that had become actually repugnant to her. It 
would be a fine chapter. 

The woman he had seen was Harry Morgan’s 
wife, Marie, on her way home from the sheriff’s 



Freddy Wallace’s boat, the Queen Conch , thirty 
four feet long, with a V number out of Tampa, wa 
painted white; the forward deck was painted a colon 
called Frolic green and the inside of the cockpit wa 
painted Frolic green. The top of the house wa 
painted the same colour. Her name and home port 
Key West, Fla., were painted in black across he: 
stern. She was not equipped with outriggers ant 
had no mast. She was equipped with glass wind 
shields, one of which, that forward of the wheel 
was broken. There were a number of fresh, wood 
splintered holes in the newly painted planking o 
her hull. Splintered patches could be seen on botl 
sides of her hull about a foot below the gunwale anc 
a little forward of the centre of the cockpit. Thert 
was another group of these splintered places almosi 
at the water line on the starboard side of the huf 
opposite the aft stanchion that supported her house 
or awning. From the lower of these something 
dark had dripped and hung in ropy lines againsi 
the new paint of her hull. 

She drifted broadside to the gentle north wind 
about ten miles outside of the north-bound tanker 
lanes, gay looking in her fresh white and green, 
against the dark, blue Gulf Stream water. There 
were patches of sun-yellowed Sargasso weed floating 



in the water near her that passed her slowly in the 
current going to the north and east, while the wind 
overcame some of the launch’s drift as it set her 
steadily farther out into the stream. There was no 
sign of life on her although the body of a man 
showed, rather inflated looking, above the gunwale, 
lying on a bench over the port gasoline tank and, 
from the long seat alongside the starboard gunwale, 
a man seemed to be leaning over to dip his hand into 
the sea. His head and arms were in the sun and at 
the point where his fingers almost touched the water, 
there was a school of small fish, about two inches 
long, oval-shaped, golden-coloured, with faint 
purple stripes, that had deserted the gulf weed to 
take shelter in the shade the bottom of the drifting 
launch made in the water, and each time anything 
dripped down into the sea, these fish rushed at the 
drop and pushed and milled until it was gone. Two 
grey sucker fish about eighteen inches long, swam 
round and round the boat in the shadow in the 
water, their slit mouths on the tops of their heads 
opening and shutting; but they did not seem to com¬ 
prehend the regularity of the drip the small fish fed 
on and were as likely to be on the far side of the 
launch when the drop fell, as near it. They had 
long since pulled away the ropy, carmine clots and 
threads that trailed in the water from the lowest 
splintered holes, shaking their ugly, sucker-topped 
heads and their elongated, tapering, thin-tailed 
bodies as they pulled. They were reluctant now 




to leave a place where they had fed so well and 

Inside the cockpit of the launch there were three 
other men. One, dead, lay on his back where he had 
fallen below the steering stool. Another, dead lay 
humped big against the scupper by the starboard 
aft stanchion. The third, still alive, but long out of 
his head, lay on his side with his head on his arm. 

The bilge of the launch was full of gasoline and 
when she rolled at all this made a sloshing sound 
The man, Harry Morgan, believed this sound was in 
his own belly and it seemed to him now that his belly 
was big as a lake and that it sloshed on both shores at 
once. That was because he was on his back now 
with his knees drawn up and his head back. The 
water of the lake that was his belly was very cold; so 
cold that when he stepped into its edge it numbed 
him, and he was extremely cold now and everything 
tasted of gasoline as though he had been sucking on a 
hose to syphon a tank. He knew there was no tank 
although he could feel a cold rubber hose that seemed 
to have entered his mouth and now was coiled, big, 
cold, and heavy all down through him. Each time 
he took a breath the hose coiled colder and firmer in 
his lower abdomen and he could feel it like a big, 
smooth-moving snake in there, above the sloshing 
of the lake. He was afraid of it, but although it was 
m him, it seemed a vast distance away and what he 
minded, now, was the cold. 

The cold was all through him, an aching cold that 


would not numb away, and he lay quietly now and 
felt it. For a time he had thought that if he could 
pull himself up over himself it would warm him like 
a blanket, and he thought for a while that he had 
gotten himself pulled up and he had started to warm. 
But that warmth was really only the hemorrhage 
produced by raising his knees up; and as the warmth 
faded he knew now that you could not pull yourself 
up over yourself and there was nothing to do about 
the cold but take it. He lay there, trying hard in all 
of him not to die long after he could not think. He 
was in the shadow now, as the boat drifted, and it 
was colder all the time. 

The launch had been drifting since ten o’clock of 
the night before and it was now getting late in the 
afternoon. There was nothing else in sight across the 
surface of the Gulf Stream but the gulf weed, a few 
pink, inflated, membranous bubbles of Portuguese 
men-of-war cocked jauntily on the surface, and the 
distant smoke of a loaded tanker bound north from 



‘Well?’ Richard Gordon said to his wife. 

‘You have lipstick on your shirt,’ she said. ‘And 
over your ear.’ Q 

‘What about this?’ 

‘What about what?’ 

‘What about finding you lying on the couch wiri, 
that drunken slob?’ Wlth 

‘You did not.’ 

‘Where did I find you?’ 

‘You found us sitting on the couch.’ 

‘In the dark.’ 

‘Where have you been?’ 

‘At the Bradleys’.’ 

t <Yes >’ she said. ‘I know. Don’t come near me 
You reek of that woman.’ 

What do you reek of?’ 

‘Nothing. I’ve been sitting, talking to a friend.’ 
Did you kiss him?’ 


‘Did he kiss you?’ 

‘Yes, I liked it.’ 

‘You bitch.’ 

‘Ifyou call me that I’ll leave you.’ 

‘You bitch.’ 

All right, she said. *It*s over. If you weren’t so 
conceited and I weren’t so good to you, you’d have 

seen it was over a long time ago/ 



‘You bitch . 5 

‘No , 5 she said. Tm not a bitch. Pve tried to be a 
good wife, but you 5 re as selfish and conceited as a 
barnyard rooster. Always crowing, “Look what I’ve 
done. Look how I’ve made you happy. Now run 
along and cackle . 55 Well, you don’t make me happy 
and I’m sick of you. I’m through cackling . 5 

‘You shouldn’t cackle. You never produced any¬ 
thing to cackle about . 5 

‘Whose fault was that? Didn’t I want children? 
But we never could afford them. But we could 
afford to go to the Cap d’Antibes to swim and to 
Switzerland to ski. We can afford to come down 
here to Key West. I’m sick of you. I dislike you. 
This Bradley woman to-day was the last straw . 5 

‘Oh, leave her out of it . 5 

‘You coming home with lipstick all over you. 
Couldn’t you even wash? There’s some on your 
forehead, too . 5 

‘You kissed that drunken twirp . 5 

‘No, I didn’t.' But I would have if I’d known what 
you were doing . 5 

‘Why did you let him kiss you ? 5 

‘I was furious at you. We waited and waited and 
waited. You never came near me. You went off 
with that woman and stayed for hours. John 
brought me home . 5 

‘Oh, John, is it?’ 

‘Yes, John. John. John . 5 . 

‘And what’s his last'name? Thomas ? 5 

181 - 


‘His name is MacWalsey.’ 

‘Why don’t you spell it?’ 

I can t, she said, and laughed. But it was the 
last time she laughed. ‘Don’t think it’s all right be¬ 
cause I laugh,’ she said, tears in her eyes, her line 
working. ‘It’s not all right. This isn’t just an ordi¬ 
nary row. Its oyer. I don’t hate you. It isn’t 
y io ent. I just dislike you. I dislike you thoroughly 
and I’m through with you.’ 5 y 

‘All right,’ he said. 

‘No Not all right. All over. Don’t you under- 

‘I guess so.’ 

‘Don’t guess.’ 

‘Don’t be so melodramatic, Helen.’ 

‘So I’m melodramatic, am I? Well, I’m not. I’m 
through with you.’ 

‘No, you’re not.’ 

‘I won’t say it again.’ 

‘What are you going to do?’ 

wlhey°’ l t kn ° W yCt 1 may manT J ° hn Mac ' 

‘You will not.’ 

Twill if I wish.’ 

‘He wouldn’t marry you.’ 

Oh, yes, he will. He asked me to marry him this 

Richard Gordon said nothing. A hollow had 
come m him where his heart had been, and every¬ 
thing he heard, or said, seemed to be overheard. 



6 He asked you what?’ he said, his voice coming 
from a long way away. 

‘To marry him. 5 

‘Why? 5 ■* 

‘Because he loves me. Because he wants me to 
live with him. He makes enough money to support 
me. 5 

‘You’re married to me. 5 

‘Not really. Not in the church. You wouldn’t 
marry me in the church and it broke my poor 
mother’s heart as you well know. 1 was so senti¬ 
mental about you I’d break anyone’s heart for you. 
My, I was a damned fool. I broke my own heart, 
too. It’s broken and gone. Everything I believed in 
and everything I cared about I left for you because 
you were so wonderful and you loved me so much 
that love was all that mattered. Love was the 
greatest thing, wasn’t it? Love was what we had 
that no one else had or could ever have? And you 
were a genius and I was your whole life. I was your 
partner and your little black flower. Slop. Love is 
just another dirty lie. Love is ergoapiol pills to make 
me come around because you were afraid to have a 
baby. Love is quinine and quinine and quinine until 
I’m deaf with it. Love is that dirty aborting horror 
that you took me to. Love is my insides all messed 
up. It’s half catheters and half whirling douches. I 
know about love. Love always hangs up behind the 
bath-room door. It smells like lysol. To hell with 
love. Love is you making me happy and the going 



off to sleep with your mouth open while I lie awake 
all night afraid to say my prayers even because I 
know I have no right to any more. Love is all the 
dirty little tricks you taught me that you probably 
got out of some books. All right. I’m through with 
you and I’m through with love. Your kind of pick- 
nose love. You writer.’ 

‘You little mick slut.’ 

‘Don’t call me names. I know the word for von ’ 

‘All right.’ 

‘No, not all right. All wrong and wrong again. 
If you were just a good writer I could stand for all 
the rest of it maybe. But I’ve seen you bitter, 
jealous, changing your politics to suit the fashion^ 
sucking up to people s faces and talking about them 
behind their backs. I’ve seen you until I’m sick of 
you. Then that dirty rich bitch of a Bradley woman 
to-day. Oh, I’m sick of it. I’ve tried to take care of 
you and humour you and look after you and cook for 
you and keep quiet when you wanted and cheerful 
when you wanted and give you your little explosions 
and pretend it made me happy, and put up with 
your rages and jealousies and your; meannesses and 
now I > m through.. 5 

‘So now you want to start again with a drunken 

He s a man. He’s kind and he’s charitable and he 
makes you feel comfortable and we come from the 
same thing and we have values that you’ll never 
have. He’s like my father was.’ 

.184 ... 


‘He's a drunk. 5 

‘He drinks. But so did my father. And my father 
wore wool socks and put his feet in them up on a 
chair and read the paper in the evening. And when 
we had croup he took care of us. He was a boiler 
maker and his hands were all broken and he liked to 
fight when he drank, and he could fight when he was 
sober. He went to mass because my mother wanted 
him to and he did his Easter duty for her and for 
Our Lord, but mostly for her, and he was a good 
union man and if he ever went with another woman 
she never knew it. 5 

Til bet he went with plenty. 5 

‘Maybe he did, but if he did he told the priest, 
not her, and if he did it was because he couldn't help 
it and he was sorry and repented of it. He didn't do 
it out of curiosity, or from barnyard pride, or to tell 
his wife what a great man he was. If he did it was 
because my mother was away with us kids for the 
summer, and he was out with the boys and got 
drunk. He was a man. 5 

‘You ought to be a writer and write about him.' 

Td be a better writer than you. And John Mac- 
Walsey is a good man. That's what you're not. You 
couldn't be. No matter what your politics or your 

■ T haven't any religion.' ■ 

‘Neither have I. 'But I had one' once and I'm 
going to have one again. And you won't be there to 
take it away. Like you've taken away everything else.' 




,‘ N °; You can be in bed with some rich woman 
like Helene Bradley. How did she like you? Did 
she think you were wonderful?’ 

Looking at her sad, angry face, pretty with crying 
the lips swollen freshly like something after rain 
her curly dark hair wild about her face, Richard 
Gordon gave her up, then, finally: 

‘And you don’t love me any more?’ 

‘I hate the word even.’ 

‘All right,’ he said, and slapped her hard and 
suddenly across the face. 

She cried now from actual pain, not anger, her 
face down on the table. 

|You didn’t need to do that,’ she said. 

‘Oh, yes, I did,’ he said. ‘You know an awful lot, 
but you don’t know how much I needed to do that.’’ 

That afternoon she had not seen him as the door opened. 
She had not seen anything but the white ceiling with its 
cake-frosting modelling of cupids, doves and scroll work that 
the light from the open door suddenly made clear. 

Richard Gordon had turned his head and seen him , stand¬ 
ing heavy and bearded in the doorway. 

Don t stop' HiUne had said. ‘Please don’t stop.’ Her 
bright hair was spread over the pillow. 

But Rickard Gordon had stopped and his headyvas still 
turned, staring. 

Don't mind him. Don't mind anything. Don't you see 
you can t stop now?' the woman had said in desperate 



The bearded man had closed the door softly. He was 

c What's the matter, darling?" Helene Bradley had asked, 
now in the darkness again. 

C I must go.’ 

‘Don* tyou seeyou can" t go?" 

c That man - 5 

c That"s only Tommy," Helene had said. 6 He knows all 
about these things. Don"t mind him. Come on, darling. 
Please do." 

‘/ can"t." 

‘Tou must," Helene had said. He could feel her shaking 
and her head on his shoulder was trembling. c My God, 
don" t you know anything? Haven" t you any regard for a 

6 1 have to go," said Richard Gordon. 

In the darkness he had felt the slap across his face that 
lighted flashes of light in his eyeballs. Then there was 
another slap. Across his mouth this time. 

6 So that"s the kind of man you are," she had said to him. 
c / thoughtyou were a man of the world. Get out of here." 

That was this afternoon. That was how it had finished 
at the Bradleys". 

Now his wife sat with her head forward on her 
hands that rested on the table and neither of them 
said anything. Richard Gordon could hear the clock 
ticking and he felt as hollow as the room was quiet. 
After a while his wife said without looking at him: 
Tm sorry it happened. But you see it’s over, don’t 


‘Yes, if that’s the way it’s been.’ 

‘It hasn’t been all like that, but for a long time 
it’s been that way.’ 

‘I’m sorry I slapped you.’ 

‘Oh, that’s nothing. That hasn’t anything to do 
with it. That was just a way to say good-bye.’ 


‘I’ll have to get out,’ she said very tiredly. ‘I’ll 
have to take the big suitcase, I’m afraid.’ 

‘Do it in the morning,’ he said. ‘You can do 
everything in the morning.’ 

‘I’d rather do it now, Dick, and it would be easier. 
But I’m so tired. It’s made me awfully tired and 
given me a headache.’ 

‘You do whatever you want.’ 

‘Oh, God,’ she said. ‘I wish it wouldn’t have 
happened. But it’s happened. I’ll try to fix every¬ 
thing up for you. You’ll need somebody to look after 
you. If I hadn’t of said some of that, or if you hadn’t 
hit me; maybe we could have fixed it up again.’ 

‘No, it was over before that.’ 

‘I’m so sorry for you, Dick.’ 

‘Don’t you be sorry for me or I’ll slap you again.’ 

‘I guess I’d feel better if you slapped me,’ she 
said. ‘I am sorry for you. Oh, I am.’ 

‘Go to hell.’ 

‘I’m sorry I said it about you not being good in 
bed. I don’t know anything about that. I guess' 
you’re wonderful.’ 

‘You’re not such a star,’ he said. 


She began to cry again. 

‘That’s worse than slapping/ she said. 

‘Well, what did you say?’ 

‘I don’t know. I don’t remember. I was so angry 
and you hurt me so.’ 

‘Well, it’s all over, so why be bitter?’ 

‘Oh, I don’t want it to be over. But it is and 

there’s nothing to do now.’ 

‘You’ll have your rummy professor.’ 

‘Don’t,’ she said. ‘Can’t we just shut up and not 
talk any more?’ 


‘Will you?’ 


‘I’ll sleep out here.’ 

‘No. You can have the bed. You must. I’m 
going out for a while.’ 

‘Oh, don’t go out.’ 

‘I’ve got to,’ he said. 

‘Good-bye,’ she said, and he saw her face he 
always loved so much, that crying never spoiled, and 
her curly black hair, her small firm breasts under the 
sweater forward against the edge of the table, and 
he didn’t see the rest of her that he’d loved so much 
and thought he had pleased, but evidently hadn’t 
been any good to, that was all below the table, and 
as he went out the door she was looking at him across 
the table; and her. chin was on her hands; and she 
.was crying. , 



He did not take the bicycle but walked down the 
street. The moon was up now and the trees were 
dark against it, and he passed the frame houses with 
their narrow yards, light coming from the shuttered 
windows; the unpaved alleys, with their double rows 
of houses; Conch town, where all was starched, well- 
shuttered, virtue, failure, grits and boiled grunts, 
under-nourishment, prejudice, righteousness, inter¬ 
breeding and the comforts of religion; the open¬ 
doored, lighted Cuban bolito houses, shacks whose 
only romance was their names; The Red House, 
Chicha’s; the pressed stone church; its steeples sharp 
ugly triangles against the moonlight; the big grounds 
and the long, black-domed bulk of the convent, 
handsome in the moonlight; a filling station and a 
sandwich place, bright-lighted beside a vacant lot 
where a miniature golf course had been taken out; 
past the brightly lit main street with the three drug 
stores, the music store, the five Jew stores, three pool 
rooms, two barbershops, five beer joints, three ice 
cream parlours, the five poor and the one good 
restaurant, two magazine and paper places, four 
second-hand joints (one of which made keys), a 
photographer’s, an office building with four dentists’ 
offices upstairs, the big dime store, a hotel on the 
corner with taxis opposite; and across, behind the 



hotel, to the street that led to jungle town, the big 
unpainted frame house with lights and the girls in 
the doorway, the mechanical piano going, and a 
sailor sitting in the street; and then on back, past the 
back of the brick courthouse with its clock luminous 
at half-past ten, past the whitewashed jail buil din g 
shining in the moonlight, to the embowered entrance 
of the Lilac Time where motor cars filled the alley. 

The Lilac Time was brightly lighted and full of 
people, and as Richard Gordon went in he saw the 
gambling room was crowded, the wheel turning and 
the little ball clicking brittle against metal partitions 
set in the bowl, the wheel turning slowly, the ball 
whirring, then clicking jumpily until it settled and 
there was only the turning of the wheel and the 
rattling of chips. At the bar, the proprietor who was 
serving with two bartenders, said "Alio. ’Alio. Mist’ 
Gordon. What you have?’ 

‘I don’t know,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘You don’t look good. Whatsa matter? You don’t 
feel good?’ 


‘I fix you something just fine. Fix you up hokay. 
You ever try a Spanish absinthe, ojen ?’ 

‘Go ahead,’ said Gordon. 

‘You drink him you feel good. Want to fight any¬ 
body in a house,’ said the proprietor. ‘Make Mistah 
Gordon a ojen special.’ 

Standing at the bar, Richard Gordon dr a nk three 
ojen specials but he felt no better; the opaque. 


sweetish, cold, liquorice-tasting drink did not make 
him feel any different. 

‘Give me something else,’ he said to the bartender. 

‘Whatsa matter? You no like a ojen special?’ the 
proprietor asked. ‘You no feel good?’ 


‘You got be careful what you drink after him.’ 

‘Give me a straight whisky.’ 

The whisky warmed his tongue and the back of 
his throat, but it did not change his ideas any, and 
suddenly, looking at himself in. the mirror behind 
the bar, he knew that drinking was never going to 
do any good to him now. Whatever he had now he 
had, and it was from now on, and if he drank himself 
unconscious when he woke up it would be there. 

A tall, very thin young man with a sparse stubble 
of blond beard on his chin who was standing next to 
him at the bar said, ‘Aren’t you Richard Gordon?’ 


‘I’m Herbert Spellman. We met at a party in 
Brooklyn one time, I believe.’ 

‘Maybe,’ said Richard Gordon. ‘Why not?’ 

‘I liked your last book very much,’ said Spellman. 
‘I liked them all.’ 

‘I’m glad,’ said Richard Gordon, ‘Have a drink?’ 

‘Have one with me,’ said Spellman. ‘Have you 
tried this ojen?' 

‘It’s not doing me anv srood.’ 

‘What’s the matter?’ 

‘FeelinoTnw ’ 


‘Wouldn’t try another? 5 

‘No. I’ll have whisky. 5 

‘You know, it’s something to me to meet you, 5 
Spellman said. ‘I don’t suppose you remember me 
at that party. 5 

£ No. But maybe it was a good party. You’re not 
■ supposed to remember a good party, are you? 5 

£ I guess not, 5 said Spellman. ‘It was at Margaret 
Van Brunt’s. Do you remember? 5 he asked hope¬ 

‘I’m trying to.’ 

‘I was the one set fire to the place,’ Spellman 

‘No,’ said Gordon. 

‘Yes,’ said Spellman, happily. ‘That was me. 
That was the greatest party I was ever on.’ 

‘What are you doing now?’ Gordon asked. 

‘Not much,’ said Spellman. ‘I get around a little. 
I’m taking it sort of easy now. Are you writing a 
new book?’ 

‘Yes. About half done.’ 

‘That’s great,’ said Spellman. ‘What’s it about?’ 

‘A strike in a textile plant.’ 

‘That’s marvellous,’ said Spellman. ‘You know 
I’m a sucker for anything on the social conflict.’ 


T love it,’ said Spellman. ‘I go for it above any¬ 
thing else. You’re absolutely the best of the lot. 
Listen, has it got a beautiful Jewish agitator in it?’ 

‘Why?’ asked Richard Gordon, suspiciously. 

n 193 


‘It’s a part for Sylvia Sidney. I’m in love with her 
Want to see her picture?’ 

‘I’ve seen it,’ said Richard Gordon. 

£ s have a drink, said Spellman, happily 
‘Think of meeting you down here. You know I’m a 
lucky fellow. Really lucky.’ 

‘Why?’ asked Richard Gordon. 

Tm crazy,’ said Spellman. ‘Gee, it’s wonderful. 
It’s just like being in love only it always comes out 

Richard Gordon edged away a little. 

‘Don’t be that way,’ said Spellman. ‘I’m not 
violent. That is, I’m almost never violent. Come 
on, let’s have a drink.’ 

‘Have you been crazy long?’ 

‘I think always,’ said Spellman. ‘I tell you it’s 
the only way to be happy in times like these. What do 
I care what Douglas Aircraft does? What do I care 
what A. T. and T. stock does? They can’t touch me. 
I just pick up one of your books or I take a drink, 
or I look at Sylvia’s picture, and I’m happy. I’m 
like a bird. I’m better than a bird. I’m a . . .’ He 
seemed to hesitate and hunt for a word, then hurried 
on. ‘I’m,a lovely little stork,’ he blurted out and 
blushed. He looked at Richard Gordon fixedly, his 
lips working, and a large blond young man de¬ 
tached himself from a group down the bar and 
coming toward him put a hand on his arm. 

‘Come on, Harold,’ he said. ‘We’d better be 
getting home.’ 



Spellman looked at Richard Gordon wildly. ‘He 

sneered at a stork , 5 he said. ‘He stepped away from 
a stork. A stork that wheels in circling flight . . / 
‘Come on, Harold , 5 said the big young man. 
Spellman put out his hand to Richard Gordon. 
‘No offence , 5 he said. ‘You 5 re a good writer. Keep 
right on with it. Remember I’m always happy. 
Don’t let them confuse you. See you soon . 5 

With the large young man’s arm over his shoulder 
the two of them moved out through the crowd 
to the door. Spellman looked back and winked at 
Richard Gordon. 

‘Nice fella , 5 the proprietor said. He tapped his 
head. ‘Very well educate. Studies too much I guess. 
Likes to break glasses. He don’t mean no harm. Pay 
for everything he break . 5 
‘Does he come in here much ? 5 
‘In the evening. What he say he was? A swan? 5 
‘A stork. 5 

‘Other night was a horse. With wings. Like a 
horse on a white horse bottle only with pair a wings! 
Nice fella all right. Plenty money. Getsa funny 
ideas. Family keep him down here now with his 
manager. He told me he like your books, Mr. 
Gordon. What you have to drink? On the house . 5 

‘A whisky , 5 said Richard Gordon. He saw the 
sheriff coming toward him. The sheriff was a rather 
cadaverous and extremely friendly man. Richard 
Gordon had seen him that afternoon at the Bradleys 5 
party and talked with him about the bank robbery. 



‘Say,’ said the sheriff, ‘if you’re not doing any- 
thing come along with me a little later. The coast 
guard’s towing in Harry Morgan’s boat. A tanker 
signalled it up off Matacumbe. They’ve got the 
whole outfit.’ 

‘My God,’ said Richard Gordon. ‘Thev’ve sot 
them all?’ g 1 

‘They’re all dead except one man, the message said ’ 
‘You don’t know who it is?’ 

‘No, they didn’t say. God knows what happened.’ 

‘Have they got the money?’ 

‘Nobody knows. But it must be aboard if tliey 
didn’t get to Cuba with it.’ 

‘When will they be in?’ 

‘Oh, it will be two or three hours yet.’ 

‘Where will they bring the boat?’ 

‘Into the navy yard, I suppose. Where the coast¬ 
guard ties up.’ 

‘Where’ll I see you to go down there?’ 

‘I’ll drop in here for you.’ 

‘Here or down at Freddy’s. I can’t stick it here 
much longer.’ 

‘It’s pretty tough in at Freddy’s to-night. It’s full 
of those Veterans from up on the Keys. They 
always raise the devil.’ 

‘I’ll go down there and look at it,’ Richard Gor¬ 
don said. ‘I’m feeling kind of low.’ 

‘Well, keep out of trouble,’ the sheriff said. ‘I’ll 
pick you up there in a couple of hours. Want a lift 
down there?’ 



‘Thanks. 5 

They went out through the crowd and Richard 
Gordon got in beside the sheriff in his car. 

‘What do you suppose happened in Morgan’s 
boat? 5 he asked. 

‘God knows, 5 the sheriff said. ‘It sounds pretty 

grizly . 5 

‘Didn’t they have any other information? 5 

‘Not a thing, 5 said the sheriff. ‘Now look at that, 
will you?' 

They were opposite the brightly lighted open front 
of Freddy’s place and it was jammed to the sidewalk. 
Men in dungarees, some bareheaded, others in caps, 
old service hats and in cardboard helmets, crowded 
the bar three deep, and the loud-speaking nickle-in- 
the-slot phonograph was playing ‘Isle of Capri 5 . As 
they pulled up a man came hurtling out of the open 
door, another man on top of him. They fell and 
rolled on the sidewalk, and the man on top, holding 
the other’s hair in both hands, banged his head up 
and down on the cement, making a sickening noise. 
No one at the bar was paying any attention. 

The sheriff got out of the car and grabbed the man 
on top by the shoulder. 

‘Cut it out , 5 he said. ‘Get up there . 5 

The man straightened up and looked at the sheriff. 
‘For Christ sake, can’t you mind your own business ? 5 

The other man, blood in his hair, blood oozing 
from one ear, and more of it trickling down his 
freckled face, squared off at the sheriff. 



‘Leave my buddy alone,’ he said thickly. ‘What’s 
the matter? Don’t you think I can take it?’ 

‘You can take it, Joey,’ the man who had been 
hammering him said. ‘Listen,’ to the sheriff, ‘could 
you let me take a buck?’ 

‘No,’ said the sheriff. 

‘Go to hell then.’ He turned to Richard Gordon 
‘What about it, pal?’ 

‘I’ll buy you a drink,’ said Gordon. 

‘Come on,’ said the Vet, and took hold of Gordon’s 


‘I’ll be by later,’ the sheriff said. 

‘Good. I’ll be waiting for you.’ 

As they edged in toward the end of the bar, the 
red-headed, freckle-faced man with the bloody ear 
and face gripped Gordon by the arm. 

‘My old buddy,’ he said. 

‘He’s all right,’ the other Vet said. ‘He can take 
it 5 

t ^ can * a ke it, see? 3 the bloody-faced one said. 
‘That’s where I got it on them. 5 

c But you can’t hand it out, 5 someone said. ‘Cut 
out the shoving. 5 

‘Let us in, 5 the bloody-faced one said. ‘Let in me 
and my old buddy. 5 He whispered into Richard 
Gordon’s ear, ‘I don’t have to hand it out. I can' 
take it, see? 5 

Listen, the other Vet said as they finally reached 
the beer-wet bar, ‘You ought to have seen him at 
noon at the commissary at Camp Five. I had him 
■ 198 


down and I was hitting him on the head with a 
bottle. Just like playing on a drum. I bet I hit him 
fifty times. 5 

‘More , 5 said the bloody-faced one. 

‘It didn’t make no impression on him. 5 

‘I can take it, 5 said the other. He whispered in 
Richard Gordon’s ear, Tt’s a secret 5 . 

Richard Gordon handed over two of the three 
beers the white-j acketed, big bellied nigger bar¬ 
tender drew and pushed toward him. 

‘What’s a secret ? 5 he asked. 

‘Me , 5 said the bloody-faced one. ‘My secret . 5 
‘He’s got a secret, 5 the other Vet said. ‘He isn’t 
lying. 5 

Want to hear it ? 5 the bloody-faced one said in 
Richard Gordon’s ear. 

Gordon nodded. 

‘It don’t hurt . 5 

The other nodded. ‘Tell him the worst of it.’ 

The red-headed one put his bloody lips almost to 

Gordon’s ear. 

‘Sometimes It feels good, 5 he said. ‘How do you 

feel about that ? 5 

At Gordon’s elbow was a tall, thin man with a 
scar that ran from one corner of his eye,down over 
his chin. He looked down at the red-headed one 
and grinned. 

‘First it was an art , 5 he said. ‘Then it became a 
pleasure. If things made me sick you’d make me 
sick, Red . 5 



‘You make sick easy,’ the first Vet said. ‘What 
outfit were you in?’ 

‘It wouldn’t mean anything to you, punch drunk ’ 
the tall man said. ’ 

‘Have a drink?’ Richard Gordon asked the tall 

‘Thanks,’ the other said. ‘I’m drinking.’ 

‘Don’t forget us,’ said one of the two men Gordon 
had come in with. 

‘Three more beers,’ said Richard Gordon, and the 
negro drew them and pushed them over. There was 
not elbow room to lift them in the crowd and Gordon 
was pressed against the tall man. 

‘You off a ship?’ asked the tall man. 

‘No, staying here. You down from the Keys?’ 

*We came in to-night from Tortugas,’ the tall man 
said. ‘We raised enough hell so they couldn’t keep 
us there.’ 

‘He’s a red,’ the first Vet said. 

‘So would you be if you had any brains,’ the tall 
man said. ‘They sent a bunch of us there to get rid 
of us but we raised too much hell for them.’ He 
grinned at Richard Gordon. 

‘Nail that guy,’ somebody yelled, and Richard 
Gordon saw a fist hit a face that showed close to him. 
The man who was hit was pulled away from the bar 
by two others. In the clear, one man hit him again, 
hard, in the face, and the other hit him in the body. 
He went down on the cement floor and covered his 
head with his arms and one of the men kicked him 


in the small of the back. All this time he had not 
made a sound. One of the men jerked him to his 
feet and pushed him up against the wall. 

4 Cool the son-of-a-bitch,’ he said, and as the man 
sprawled, white faced against the wall, the second 
man set himself, knees slightly bent, and then swung 
up at him with a right fist that came from down near 
the cement floor and : landed on the side of the white¬ 
faced man’s jaw. He fell forward on his knees and 
then rolled slowly over, his head in a little pool of 
blood. The two men left him there and came back 
to the bar. 

‘Boy, you can hit,’ said one. 

‘That son-of-a-bitch comes into town and puts all 
his pay in the postal savings and then hangs around 
here picking up drinks off the bar , 5 the other said. 
‘That’s the second time I cooled him.’ 

‘You cooled him this time . 5 

‘When I hit him just then I felt his jaw go just 
like a bag of marbles , 5 the other said happily. The 
man lay against the wall and nobody paid any 
attention to him. 

‘Listen, if you landed on me like that it wouldn’t 
make no impression,’ the red-headed Vet said. 

‘Shut up, slappy,’ said the cooler. ‘You’ve got the 
old rale.’ 

‘No, I. haven’t.’ 

‘You punchies make me sick,’ the cooler said. 
‘Why should I bust my hands on you?’ 

‘That’s just what you’d do, bust your hands,’ the 



red-headed one said. ‘Listen, pal,’ to Richard 
Gordon, ‘How’s to have another?’ 

‘Aren’t they fine boys?’ said the tall man , ‘War 
is a purifying and ennobling force. The question is 
whether only people like ourselves here are fitted to 
be soldiers or whether the different services have 
formed us.’ 

‘I don’t know,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘I would like to bet you that not three men in this 
room were drafted,’ the tall man said. ‘These are 
the Hite. The very top cream of the scum. What 
Wellington won at Waterloo with. Well, Mr. 
Hoover ran us out of Anticosti flats and Mr. Roose¬ 
velt has shipped us down here to get rid of us. 
They’ve run the camp in a way to invite an epidemic 
but the poor bastards won’t die. They shipped a few 
of us to Tortugas but that’s healthy now. Besides, 
we wouldn’t stand for it. So they’ve brought us 
back. What’s the next move? They’ve got to get 
rid of us. You can see that, can’t you?’ 


‘Because we are the desperate ones,’ the man said. 
‘The ones with nothing to lose. We are the com¬ 
pletely brutalized ones. We’re worse than the stuff 
the original Spartacus worked with. But it’s tough 
to try to do anything with because we have been 
beaten so far that the only solace is booze and the 
only pride is in being able to take it. But we’re 
not all like that. There are some of us that are 

croincr-to hand it out/ 



c Are there many Communists in the camp?’ 

‘Only about forty/ the tall man said. ‘Out of 
two thousand. It takes discipline and abnegation 
to be a Communist; a rummy can’t be a 
Communist . 3 

‘Don’t listen to him/ the red-headed Vet said. 
‘He’s just a goddamn radical.’ 

‘Listen/ the other Vet who was drinking beer 
with Richard Gordon said, let me tell you about in 
the navy. Let me tell you, you goddamn radical.’ 

‘Don’t listen to him/ the red-headed one said. 
‘When the fleet’s in New York and you go ashore 
there in the evening up under Riverside Drive 
there’s old guys with long beards come down and 
you can p— in their beards for a dollar. What do you 
think about that?’ 

‘I’ll buy you a drink/ said the tall man, ‘and you 
forget that one. I don’t like to hear that one.’ 

‘I don’t forget anything/ the red-headed one 
said. ‘What’s the matter with you, pal?’ 

‘Is that true about the beards?’ Richard Gordon 
asked. He felt a little sick. 

‘I swear to God and my mother/ the red-headed 
one said. ‘Hell, that ain’t nothing.’ 

Up the bar a Vet was arguing with Freddy 
about the payment of a drink. 

‘That’s what you had/ said Freddy. 

Richard Gordon watched the Vet’s face. He was 
very drunk, his eyes were bloodshot and he was 
looking for trouble. 



‘You’re a goddamn liar,’ he said to Freddy. 

‘Eighty-five cents,’ Freddy said to him. 

‘Watch this,’ said the red-headed Vet. 

Freddy spread his hands on the bar. He was 
watching the Vet. 

‘You’re a goddamn liar,’ said the Vet, and picked 
up a beer glass to throw it. As his hand closed on it, 
Freddy’s right hand swung in a half circle over the 
bar and cracked a big salt-cellar covered with a bar 
towel alongside the Vet’s head. 

‘Was it neat?’ said the red-headed Vet. ‘Was it 

‘You ought to see him tap them with that sawed- 
off billiard cue,’ the other said. 

Two Vets standing next to where the salt-cellar 
man had slipped down, looked at Freddy angrily. 
‘What’s the idea of cooling him?’ 

‘Take it easy,’ said Freddy. ‘This one is on the 
house. Hey, Wallace,’ he said. ‘Put that fellow 
over against the wall.’ 

‘Was it pretty?’ the red-headed Vet asked Richard 
Gordon. ‘Wasn’t that sweet?’ 

A heavy-set young fellow had dragged the salt- 
cellared man out through the crowd. He pulled 
him to his feet and the man looked at him vacantly. 
Run along,’ he said to him. ‘Get yourself some 

Over against the wall the man who had been 
cooled sat with his head in his hands. The heavy- 
set young man went over to hi™ 



‘You run along, too/ he said to him. ‘You just 
get in trouble here.’ 

‘My jaw’s broken/ the cooled one said thickly. 

Blood was running out of his mouth and down over 

his chin. 

. ‘You’re lucky you aren’t killed, that wallop he 
hit you/ the thick-set young man said. ‘You run 

along now/ 

‘My jaw’s broke/ the other said dully. ‘They 
broke my jaw/ 

‘You better run along/ the young man said. 
‘You just get in trouble here/ 

He helped the jaw-broken man to his feet and he 
staggered unsteadily out to the street. 

‘I’ve seen a dozen laying against the wall over 
there on a big night/ the red-headed Vet said. 
‘One morning I seen that big boogie there mopping 
it up with a bucket. Didn’t I see you mop it up 
with a bucket ? 5 he asked the big negro bar¬ 

‘Yes, sir/ said the bartender. ‘Plenty of times. 
Yes, sir. But you never seen me fight nobody/ 
‘Didn’t I tell you?’ said the red-headed Vet. 
‘With a bucket/ 

‘This looks like a big night coming on/ the other 
Vet said. ‘What do you say, pal?’ to Richard 
Gordon. ‘O.K. we have another one?’ 

Richard Gordon could feel himself getting drunk. 
His face, reflected in the mirror behind the bar, was 
beginning to look strange to him. 



‘What’s your name?’ he asked the tall Communist 

‘Jacks,’ the tall man said. ‘Nelson Jacks.’ 

‘Where were you before you came here?’ 

‘Oh, around,’ the man said. ‘Mexico, Cuba 
South America, and around.’ ’ 

‘I envy you,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘Why envy me? Why don’t you get to work?’ 

‘I’ve written three books,’ Richard Gordon said 
‘I’m writing one now about Gastonia.’ 

‘Good,’ said the tall man. ‘That’s fine. What did 
you say your name was ? 5 

‘Richard Gordon . 5 

‘Oh/ said the tall man. 

‘What do you mean, “Oh 55 ? 5 

‘Nothing/ said the tall man. 

‘Did you ever read the books?’ Richard Gordon 


‘Didn’t you like them?’ 

‘No,’ said the tall man. 


‘I don’t like to say.’ 

‘Go ahead.’ 

‘I thought they were s—,’ the tall man said and 
turned away. 

‘I guess this is my night,’ said Richard Gordon. 
‘This is my big night. What did you say you’d 
have?’ he asked the red-headed Vet. ‘I’ve got two 
dollars left.’ 

One beer,’ said the red-headed man. ‘Listen, 


you’re my pal. I think your books are fine. To hell 
with that radical bastard.’ 

‘You haven’t got a book with you?’ asked the 
other Vet. ‘Pal, I’d like to read one. Did you ever 
write for Western Stories , or War Aces? I could read 
that War Aces every day.’ 

‘Who is that tall bird?’ asked Richard Gordon. 

‘I tell you he’s just a radical bastard,’ said the 
second Vet. ‘The camp’s full of them. We’d run 
them out, but I tell you half the time most of the 
guys in camp can’t remember.’ 

‘Can’t remember what?’ asked the red-headed 

‘Can’t remember anything,’ said the other. 

‘You see me?’ asked the red-headed one. 

‘Yes,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘Would you guess I got the finest little wife in the 

‘Why not?’ 

‘Well, I have,’ said the red-headed one. ‘And 
that girl is nuts about me. She’s like a slave. .“Give 
me another cup of coffee,” I say to her. “O.K., 
Pop,” she says. And I get it. Anything else the 
same way. She’s carried away with me. If I got a 
whim, it’s her law.’ 

‘Only where is she?’ asked the other Vet. 

‘That’s it,’ said the red-headed one. ‘That’s it, 
pal. Where is she?’ 

‘He don’t know where she is,’ the second Vet 



‘Not only that,’ said the red-headed one. ‘I 
don’t know where I saw her last.’ 

‘He don’t even know what country she’s in.’ 

‘But listen, buddy,’ said the red-headed one 
‘Wherever she is, that little girl is faithful.’ 

‘That’s God’s truth,’ said the other Vet. ‘You 
can stake your life on that.’ 

‘Sometimes,’ said the red-headed one, ‘I think 
that she is maybe Ginger Rogers and that she has 
gone into the moving pictures.’ 

‘Why not?’ said the other. 

‘Then again, I just see her waiting there quietly 
where I live.’ " " 

‘Keeping the home fires burning,’ said the other. 

‘That’s it,’ said the red-headed one. ‘She’s the 
finest little woman in the world.’ 

‘Listen,’ said the other,‘my old mother is O.K. too ’ 

‘That’s right.’ ' ’ 

‘She’s dead,’ said the second Vet. ‘Let’s not talk 
about her.’ 

‘Aren’t you married, pal?’ the red-headed Vet 
asked Richard Gordon. 

‘Sure,’ he said. Down the bar, about four 
away, he could see the red face, the blue eyes and 
sandy, beer-dewed moustache of Professor Mac- 
Walsey. Professor MacWalsey was looking straight 
ahead of him and as Richard Gordon watched he 
finished his glass of beer and, raising his lower lip, 
removed the foam from his moustache. Richard 
Gordon noticed how bright blue his eyes were. 

20 8 


As Richard Gordon watched himhe felt asickfeeling 
In his chest. And he knew for the first time how a man 
feels when he looks at the man his wife is leaving him for. 

‘What’s the matter, pal ? 5 asked the red-headed Vet. 

‘Nothing . 5 

‘You don’t feel good, I can tell you feel bad . 5 

‘No , 5 said Richard Gordon. 

‘You look like you seen a ghost . 5 

‘You see that fellow down there with a 
moustache ? 5 asked Richard Gordon. 

‘Him ? 5 

‘Yes . 5 

‘What about him ? 5 asked the second Vet. 

‘Nothing , 5 said Richard Gordon. ‘Goddamn it. 
Nothing . 5 

‘Is he a bother to you? We can cool him. The three of 
us can jump him and you can put the boots to him . 5 

‘No , 5 said Richard Gordon. ‘It wouldn’t do any 
good . 5 

‘We’ll get him when he goes outside , 5 the red¬ 
headed Vet said. ‘I don’t like the look of him. The 
son-of-a-bitch looks like a scab to me . 5 

‘I hate him , 5 said Gordon. ‘He’s mined my life . 5 

‘We’ll give him the works , 5 said the second Vet. 
‘The yellow rat. Listen, Red, get a hold of a couple 
of bottles. We’ll beat him to death. Listen, when 
did he do it, pal? O.K., we have another one ? 5 

‘We’ve got a dollar and seventy cents , 5 Richard 
Gordon said. 

‘Maybe we better get a pint then , 5 the red- 

o 209 


headed Vet said. ‘My teeth are floating now.’ 

‘No,’ said the other. ‘This beer isgood for you. Thisis 
draught beer. Stick with the beer. Let’s go and beat 
this guy up and come back and drink some more beer.’ 

‘No. Leave him alone.’ 

‘No, pal. Not us. You said that rat ruined your wife.’ 

‘My life. Not my wife.’ 

‘Jese! Pardon me. I’m sorry, pal.’ 

‘He defaulted and ruined the bank,’ the other Vet 
said. ‘I’ll bet there’s a reward for him. By God, I seen 
a picture of him at the post office to-day.’ 

‘What were you doing at the post office?’ asked 
the other suspiciously. 

‘Can’t I get a letter?’ 

‘What’s the matter with getting letters at camp?’ 

‘Do you think I went to the postal savings?’ 

‘What were you doing in the post office?’ 

‘I just stopped by.’ 

‘Take that,’ said his pal and swung on him as 
well as he could in the crowd. 

‘There goes those two cell mates,’ said somebody. 
Holding and punching, kneeing and butting, the 
two were pushed out of the door. 

‘Let ’em fight on the sidewalk,’ the wide¬ 
shouldered young man said. ‘Those bastards fight 
three or four times a night.’ 

‘They’re a couple of punchies,’ another Vet said. 
‘Red could fight once but he’s got the old rale.’ 
‘They’ve both got it.’ 

‘Red got it fighting a fellow in the ring,’ a short 

' 210 ' ' 


chunky Vet said. This fellow had the old rale and 
he was all broke out on the shoulders and back. 
Every time they’d go into a clinch he’d rub his 
shoulder under Red’s nose or across his puss.’ 

s Oh 5 nuts. What did he put his face there for?’ 

That was the way Red carried his head when he 
was in close. Down, like this. And this fellow was 
just roughing him.’ 

Oh, nuts. That story is all bull. Nobody ever 
got the old rale from anybody in a fight.’ 

That’s what you think. Listen, Red was as clean 
a living kid as you ever saw. I knew him. He was in 
my outfit. He was a good little fighter, too. I mean 
good. He was married, too, to a nice girl. I mean 
nice. And this Benny Sampson gave him that old 
rale just as sure as I’m standing here.’ 

- Then sit down,’ said another Vet. ‘How did 
Poochy get it?’ 

‘He got it in Shanghai.’ 

‘Where did you get yours?’ 

‘I ain’t got it.’ 

‘Where did Suds get it?’ 

‘Off a girl in Brest, coming home.’ 

‘That’s all you guys ever talk about. The old 
rale. What difference does the old rale make?’ 

‘None, the way we are now,’ one Vet said. 
‘You’re just as happy with it.’ 

‘Poochy’s happier. He don’t know where he is.’ 

‘What’s the old rale?’ Professor MacWalsey asked 
the man next to him at the bar. The man told him. 


C I wonder what the derivation is,’ Professor Mar 
Walsey said. 

‘I don’t know,.’ said the man. ‘I’ve always heard 
it called the old rale since my first enlistment. Some 
call it rale. But usually they call it the old rale.’ 

‘I’d like to know,’ said Professor MacWalsey. 
‘Most of those terms are old English words.’ 

‘Why do they call it the old rale?’ the Vet next 
to Professor MacWalsey asked another. 

‘I don’t know.’ 

Nobody seemed to know but all enjoyed the 
atmosphere of serious philological discussion. 

Richard Gordon was next to Professor Mac¬ 
Walsey at the bar now. When Red and Poochy had 
started fighting he had been pushed down there 
and he had not resisted the move. 

‘Hello,’ Professor MacWalsey said to him. ‘Do 
you want a drink?’ 

‘Not with you,’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘I suppose you’re right,’ said Professor Mac¬ 
Walsey. ‘Did you ever see anything like this?’ 

‘No,’ said Richard Gordon. 
t very strange,’ said Professor MacWalsey. 
‘They’re amazing. I always come here nights.’ 

‘Don’t you ever get in trouble?’ 

‘No. Why should I?’ 

‘Drunken fights.’ 

‘I never seem to have any trouble.’ 

A couple of friends of mine wanted to beat you 
up a couple of minutes ago.’ 



‘Yes . 5 

‘I wish I would have let them . 5 

‘I don’t think it would make much difference/ 
said Professor MacWalsey in the odd way of 
speaking he had. ‘If I annoy you by being here I 

can go. 5 

‘No/ said Richard Gordon. ‘I sort of like to be 
near you . 5 

‘Yes/ said Professor MacWalsey. 

‘Have you ever been married ? 5 asked Richard 

‘Yes . 5 

‘What happened ? 5 

‘My wife died during the influenza epidemic in igi8. 5 

‘Why do you want to marry again now? 5 

‘I think I’d be better at it now. I think perhaps 
I’d be a better husband now . 5 

‘So you picked my wife. 5 

‘Yes/ said Professor MacWalsey. 

‘Damn you/ said Richard Gordon, and hit him 
in the face. 

Someone grabbed his arm. He jerked it loose and 
someone hit him crashingly behind the ear. He 
could see Professor MacWalsey, before him, still at 
the bar, his face red, blinking his eyes. He was 
reaching for another beer to replace the one Gordon 
had spilled, and Richard Gordon drew back his 
arm to hit him again. As he did so, something 
exploded again behind his ear and all the lights 
flared up, wheeled round, and then went out. 



Then he was standing in the doorway of Freddy’s 
place. His head was ringing, and the crowded room 
was unsteady and wheeling slightly, and he felt sick 
at his stomach. He could see the crowd looking at 
him. The big-shouldered young man was standing 
by him. ‘Listen,’ he was saying, ‘you don’t want to 
start any trouble in here. There’s enough fights in 
here with those rummies.’ 

‘Who hit me?’ asked Richard Gordon. 

‘I hit you,’ said the wide young man. ‘That 
fellow’s a regular customer here. You want to take 
it easy. You don’t want to go to fight in here.’ 

Standing unsteadily Richard Gordon saw Profes¬ 
sor MacWalsey coming toward him away from the 
crowd at the bar. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘I didn’t 
want anybody to slug you. I don’t blame you for 
feeling the way you do.’ 

‘Goddamn you,’ said Richard Gordon, and 
started toward him. It was the last thing he remem¬ 
bered doing for the wide young man set himself, 
dropped his shoulders slightly, and clipped him 
again, and he went down, this time, on the cement 
floor on his face. The wide young man turned to 
Professor MacWalsey. ‘That’s all right, Doc,’ he 
said, hospitably. ‘He won’t annoy you now. 
What’s the matter with him anyway?’ 

‘I’ve got to take him home,’ said Professor Mac¬ 
Walsey. ‘Will he be all right?’ 


Help me to get him in a taxi,’ said Professor 


MacWalsey. They carried Richard Gordon out 
between them and with the driver helping, put him 
in the old model T taxi. 

4 You’re sure he’ll be all right ? 5 asked Professor 


c Just pull on his ears good when you want to 
bring him to. Put some water on him. Look out he 
don’t want to fight when he comes to. Don’t let 
him grab you, Doc.’ 

fi No,’ said Professor MacWalsey. 

Richard Gordon’s head lay back at an odd angle 
in the back of the taxi and he made a heady, 
rasping noise when he breathed. Professor Mac¬ 
Walsey put his arm under his head and held it so it 
did not bump against the seat. 

Where are we going?’ asked the taxi driver. 

‘Out on the other end of town,’ said Professor 
MacWalsey. 'Past the Park. Down the street from 
the place where they sell mullets.’ 

'That’s the Rocky Road,’ the driver said. 

'Yes,’ said Professor MacWalsey. 

As they passed the first coffee shop up the street, 
Professor MacWalsey told the driver to stop. He 
wanted to go in and get some cigarettes. He laid 
Richard Gordon’s head down carefully on the seat 
and went into the coffee shop. When he came out to 
get back into the taxi, Richard Gordon was gone. 

'Where did he go?’ he asked the driver. 

'That’s him up the street,’ the driver said. 

'Catch up with him.’ 



As the taxi pulled up even with him, Professor 
MacWalsey got out and went up to Richard Gordon 
who was lurching along the sidewalk. 

‘Come on, Gordon,’ he said. ‘We’re going home.’ 

Richard Gordon looked at him. 

‘We?’ he said, swaying. 

‘I want you to go home in this taxi.’ 

‘You go to hell.’ 

‘I wish you’d come,’ Professor MacWalsey said. 
‘I want you to get home safely.’ 

‘Where’s your gang?’ said Richard Gordon. 

‘What gang?’ 

‘Your gang that beat me up.’ 

‘That was the bouncer. I didn’t know he was 
going to hit you.’ 

‘You lie,’ said Richard Gordon. He swung at the 
red-faced man in front of him and missed him. 
He slipped forward on to his knees and got up 
slowly. His knees were scraped raw from the side¬ 
walk, but he did not know it. 

‘Come on and fight,’he said brokenly. 

‘I don’t fight,’ said Professor MacWalsey. ‘If 
you’ll get into the taxi I’ll leave you.’ 

‘Go to hell,’ said Richard Gordon and started 
down the street. 

‘Leave him go,’ said the taxi driver. ‘He’s all 
right now.’ 

‘Do you think he’ll be all right?’ 

‘Hell,’the taxi driver said. ‘He’s perfect.’ 

‘I’m worried about him,’ Professor MacWalsey said. 



‘You can’t get him in without fighting him,’ the 
taxi-driver said. ‘Let him go. He’s fine. Is he 
your brother?’ 

‘In a way,’ said Professor MacWalsey. 

He watched Richard Gordon lurching down the 
street until he was out of sight in the shadow from 
the big trees whose branches dipped down to grow 
into the ground like roots. What he was thinking as 
he watched him, was not pleasant. It is a mortal 
sin, he thought, a grave and deadly sin and a great 
cruelty, and while technically one’s religion may 
permit the ultimate result, I cannot pardon myself. 
On the other hand, a surgeon cannot desist while 
operating for fear of hurting the patient. But why 
must all the operations in life be performed without 
an anaesthetic? If I had been a better man I 
would have let him beat me up. It would have 
been better for him. The poor stupid man. The 
poor homeless man. I ought to stay with him, but I 
know that is too much for him to bear. I am 
ashamed and disgusted with myself and I hate 
what I have done. It all may turn out badly too. 
But I must not think about that. I will now return 
to the anaesthetic I have used for seventeen years 
and will not need much longer. Although it is 
probably a vice now for which I only invent excuses. 
Though at least it is a vice for which I am suited. 
But I wish I could help that poor man whom I am 

‘Drive me back to Freddy’s,’ he said. 



The coast-guard cutter towing the Queen Conch was 
coming down the hawk channel between the reef 
and the keys. The cutter rolled in the cross chop 
the light north wind raised against the flood tide 
but the white boat was towing easily and well. 

‘She’ll be all right if it doesn’t breeze,’ the coast¬ 
guard captain said. ‘She tows pretty, too. That 
Robby built nice boats. Could you make out any 
of the guff he was talking?’ 

‘He didn’t make any sense,’ the mate said. ‘He’s 
way out of his head.’ 

‘I guess he’ll die all right,’ the captain said. ‘Shot 
in the belly that way. Do you suppose he killed 
those four Cubans?’ 

‘You can’t tell. I asked him but he didn’t know 
what I was saying.’ 

‘Should we go talk to him again?’ 

‘Let’s have a look at him,’ the captain said. 

Leaving the quartermaster at the wheel, running 
the beacons down the channel, they went behind 
the wheel house into the captain’s cabin. Harry 
Morgan lay there on the iron pipe bunk. His eyes 
were closed but he opened them when the captain 
touched his wide shoulder. 

‘How you feeling, Harry?’ the captain asked him. 
Harry looked at him and did not speak. 



‘Can we get you anything, boy?’ the captain 
asked him. 

Harry Morgan looked at him. 

‘He don’t hear you,’ said the mate. 

‘Harry,’ said the captain, ‘do you want anything, 

He wet a towel in the water bottle on a gimbal by 
the bunk and moistened Harry Morgan’s deeply 
cracked lips. They were dry and black looking. 
Looking at him, Harry Morgan started speaking. 
‘A man,’ he said. 

‘Sure,’ said the captain. ‘Go on.’ 

‘A man,’ said Harry Morgan, very slowly, ‘ain’t 
got no hasn’t got any can’t really isn’t any way 
out.’ He stopped. There had been no expression 
on his face at all when he spoke. 

‘Go on, Harry,’ said the captain. ‘Tell us who 
did it. How did it happen, boy?’ 

‘A man,’ said Harry, looking at him now with 
his narrow eyes on the wide, high-cheek-boned 
face, trying now to tell him. 

‘Four men,’ said the captain helpfully. He 
moistened the lips again, squeezing the towel so a 
few drops went between them. 

‘A man,’ corrected Harry; then stopped. 

‘All right. A man,’ the captain said. 

‘A man,’ Harry said again very flatly, very 
slowly, talking with his dry mouth. ‘Now the way 
things are the way they go no matter what no.’ 

The captain looked at the mate and shook his head. 



‘Who did it, Harry?’ the mate asked. 

Harry looked at him. 

‘Don’t fool yourself,’ he said. The captain and 
the mate both bent over him. Now it was coming. 
‘Like trying to pass cars on the top of hills. On that 
road in Cuba. On any road. Anywhere. Just like 
that. I mean how things are. The way that they 
been going. For a while yes sure all right. Maybe 
with luck. A man.’ He stopped. The captain shook 
his head at the mate again. Harry Morgan looked 
at him flatly. The captain wet Harry’s lips again. 
They made a bloody mark on the towel. 

‘A man,’ Harry Morgan said, looking at them 
both. ‘One man alone ain’t got. No man alone 
now.’ He stopped. ‘No matter how a man alone 
ain’t got no bloody chance.’ 

He shut his eyes. It had taken him a long time to 
get it out and it had taken him all of his life to learn 

He lay there his eyes open again. 

‘Come on,’ said the captain to the mate. ‘You 
sure you don’t want anything, Harry?’ 

Harry Morgan looked at him but he did not 
answer. He had told them; but they had not heard. 

‘We’ll be back,’ said the captain. ‘Take it easy, 

Harry Morgan watched them go out of the cabin. 

Forward in the wheelhouse, watching it get dark 
and the light of Sombrero starting to sweep out at 



sea, the mate said, ‘He gives you the w illi es out of 
his head like that.’ 

‘Poor fellow,’ said the captain. ‘Well, we’ll be in 
pretty soon now. We’ll get him in soon after mid¬ 
night. If we don’t have to slow down for that tow.’ 
‘Think he’ll live?’ 

‘No,’ said the captain. ‘But you can’t ever tell.’ 



There were many people in the dark street outside 
the iron gates that closed the entrance to the old 
submarine base now transformed into a yacht basin. 
The Cuban watchman had orders to let no one in 
and the crowd were pressing against the fence to 
look through between the iron rods into the dark 
enclosure lit, along the water, by the lights of the 
yachts that lay moored at the finger piers. The 
crowd was as quiet as only a Key West crowd 
can be. The yachtsmen pushed and elbowed their 
way through to the gate and by the watchman. 

‘Hey. You canna comein,’ the watchman said. 

‘What the hell. We’re off a yacht. 5 

‘Nobody supposacomein, 5 the watchman said. 
‘Get back. 5 

‘Don’t be stupid, 5 said one of the yachtsmen, and 
pushed him aside to go up the road toward the dock. 

Behind them was the crowd outside the gates, 
where the little watchman stood uncomfortable and 
amdous in his cap, his long moustache and his 
dishevelled authority, wishing he had a key to lock 
the big gate, and, as they strode heartily up the 
sloping road they saw ahead, then passed, a group of 
men waiting at the coast-guard pier. They paid no 
attention to them but walked along the dock, past 
the piers where the other yachts lay to pier number 
five, and out on the pier to where the gang plank 
reached, in the glare of a flood light, from rough 



wooden pier to the teak deck of the Mew Emma II. 
In the main cabin they sat in big leather chairs 
beside a long table on which magazines were spread, 
and one of them rang for the steward. 

"Scotch and soda , 5 he said. "You, Henry ? 5 
"Yes , 5 said Henry Carpenter. 

"What was the matter with that silly ass at the gate? 5 
Tve no idea , 5 said Henry Carpenter. 

The steward, in his white jacket, brought the two 

‘Play those disks I put out after dinner, 5 the 

yachtsman, whose name was Wallace Johnston, said. 
"I’m afraid I put them away, sir, 5 the steward said. 
"Damn you , 5 said Wallace Johnston. "Play that 
new Bach album then . 5 

"Very good, sir, 5 said the steward. He went over 
to the record cabinet and took out an album and 
moved with it to the gramophone. He began play¬ 
ing the "Sarabande 5 . 

"Did you see Tommy Bradley to-day? 5 asked 
Henry Carpenter. "I saw him as the plane came in. 5 

T can’t bear him , 5 said Wallace. "Neither him 
nor that whore of a wife of his. 5 

"I like Helene , 5 said Henry Carpenter. "She has 
such a good time. 5 
"Did you'ever try it ? 5 
"Of course. It’s marvellous . 5 
"I can ? t stick her at any price, 5 said Wallace John¬ 
ston. "Why in God’s name does she live down here? 5 
"They have a lovely place. 5 



‘It is a nice clean little yacht basin,’ said Wallace 
Johnston. ‘Is it true Tommy Bradley’s impotent?’ 

‘I shouldn’t think so. You hear that about every 
one. He’s simply broad-minded.’ 

‘Broad-minded is excellent. She’s certainly a 
broad if there ever was one.’ 

‘She’s a remarkably nice woman,’ said Henry 
Carpenter. ‘You’d like her, Wally.’ 

‘I would not,’ said Wallace. ‘She represents 
everything I hate in a woman, and Tommy 
Bradley epitomizes everything I hate in a man.’ 

‘You feel awfully strongly to-night.’ 

‘You never feel strongly because you have no 
consistency,’ Wallacejohnstonsaid. ‘You can’t make 
up your mind. You don’t know what you are even.’ 

‘Let’s drop me,’ said Henry Carpenter. He lit a 

‘Why should I?’ 

‘Well, one reason you might is because I go with 
you on your bloody yacht, and at least half the time 
I do what you want to do, and that keeps you from 
paying blackmail and one thing and another, to the 
people that do know what they are, and what you 

‘You’re in a pretty mood,’ said Wallace Johnston. 
‘You know I never pay blackmail.’ 

‘No. You’re too tight to. You have friends like 
me instead.’ 

‘I haven’t any other friends like you.’ 

‘Don’t be charming,’ said Henry. ‘I don’t feel up to 


it to-night. J ust go ahead and play Bach and abuse your 
steward and drink a little too much and go to bed . 5 

‘What’s gotten into you ? 5 said the other, standing 
up. 4 Why are you getting so damned unpleasant? 
You 5 re not such a great bargain, you know . 5 

C I know , 5 said Henry. Til be oh so jolly to¬ 
morrow. But to-night's a bad night. Didn’t you 
ever notice any difference in nights? I suppose 
when you’re rich enough there isn’t any difference.’ 

£ You talk like a schoolgirl.’ 

c Good night , 5 said Henry Carpenter. Tm not a 
schoolgirl nor a schoolboy. I’m going to bed. 
Everything will be awfully jolly in the morning . 5 

4 What did you lose? Is that what makes you so 

‘I lost three hundred.’ 

‘See? I told you that was it . 5 

‘You always know, don’t you ? 5 

‘But look. You lost three hundred.’ 

‘I’ve lost more than that . 5 

‘How much more?’ 

‘The jackpot,’ said Henry Carpenter. ‘The 
eternal jackpot. I’m playing a machine now that 
doesn’t give jackpots any more. Only to-night I just 
happened to think about it. Usually I don’t think 
about it. Now I’m going to bed so I won’t bore you . 5 

‘You don’t bore me. But just try not to be rude . 5 

‘I’m afraid I’m rude and you bore me. Good 
night. Everything will be fine to-morrow.’ 

‘You’re damned rude . 5 




‘Take it or leave it,’ said Henry. ‘IVe been 
doing both all my life.’ 

‘Good night,’ said Wallace Johnston hopefully. 

Henry Carpenter did not answer. He was 
listening to the Bach. 

‘Don’t go off to bed like that,’ Wallace Johnston 
said. ‘Why be so temperamental?’ 

‘Drop it.’ 

‘Why should I? I’ve seen you come out of it before.’ 

‘Drop it.’ 

‘Have a drink and cheer up.’ 

‘I don’t want a drink and it wouldn’t cheer me up.’ 

‘Well, go off to bed, then.’ 

‘I am,’ said Henry Carpenter. 

That was how it was that night on the New 
Emma //, with a crew of twelve, Cap tail Nils 
Larson, master, and on board Wallace Johnston, 
owner, 38 years old, M.A. Harvard, composer’ 
money from silk mills, unmarried, interdit de sSjorn 
in Paris, well known from Algiers to Biskra, and 
one guest, Henry Carpenter, 36, M.A. Harvard, 
money now two hundred a month in trust fund 
from his mother, formerly four hundred and fifty a 
month until the bank administering the Trust Fund 
had exchanged one good security for another good 
security, for other not so good securities, and, fi nall y 
for an equity in an office building the bank had been 
saddled with and which paid nothing at all. Long 
before this reduction in income it had been said of 
Henry Carpenter that if he were dropped from a 



height of 5500 feet without a parachute, he would 
land safely with his knees under some rich man’s 
table. But he gave value in good company for his 
entertainment and while it was only lately, and 
rarely, that he felt, or expressed himself, as he had 
to-night, his friends had felt for some time that he 
was cracking up. If he had not been felt to be 
cracking up, with that instinct for feeling something 
wrong with a member of the pack and healthy 
desire to turn him out, if it is impossible to destroy 
him, which characterizes the rich; he would not 
have been reduced to accepting the hospitality of 
Wallace Johnston. As it was, Wallace Johnston, 
with his rather special pleasures, was Henry 
Carpenter’s last stand, and he was defending his 
position better than he knew for his honest courting 
of an end to their relationship; his subsequent 
brutality of expression, and sincere insecurity of 
tenure intrigued, and seduced the other who might, 
given Henry Carpenter’s age, have easily been bored 
by a steady compliance. Thus Henry Carpenter" 
postponed his inevitable suicide by a matter of 
weeks if not of months. 

The money on which it was not worth while for 
him to live was one hundred and seventy dollars 
more a month than the fisherman Albert Tracy had 
been supporting his family on at the time of his death 
three days before. 

Aboard the other yachts lying at the finger piers 
there were other people with other problems. On 



one of the largest yachts, a handsome, black, bar- 
quentine rigged three-master, a sixty-year-old grain 
broker lay awake worrying about the report he 
had received from his office of the activities of the 
investigators from the Internal Revenue Bureau. 
Ordinarily, at this time of night, he would have 
quieted his worry with Scotch highballs and have 
reached the state where he felt as tough and regard¬ 
less of consequences as any of the old brothers of the 
coast with whom in character and standards of 
conduct, he had, truly, much in common. But his 
doctor had forbidden him all liquor for a month, 
for three months really, that is they had said it 
would kill him in a year if he did not give up alcohol 
for at least three months, so he was going to lay off 
it for a month; and now he worried about the call 
he had received from the Bureau before he left town 
asking him exactly where he was going and whether 
he planned to leave the United States coastal waters. 

He lay, now, in his pyjamas, on his wide bed, two 
pillows under his head, the reading light on, but he 
could not keep his mind on the book, which was an 
account of a trip to Galapagos. In the old days he 
had never brought them to this bed. He’d had 
them in their cabins and he came to this bed after¬ 
wards. This was his own stateroom, as private to 
him as his office. He never wanted a woman in his 
room. When he wanted one he went to hers, and 
when he was through he was through, and now that 
he was through for good his brain had the same 



clear coldness always that had, in the old days, been 

an after effect. And he lay now, with no kindly 
blurring, denied all that chemical courage that had 
soothed his mind and warmed his heart for so many 
years, and wondered what the department had, 
what they had found and what they would twist, 
what they would accept as normal and what they 
would insist was evasion; and he was not afraid of 
them, but only hated them and the power they would 
use so insolently that all his own, hard, small, tough 
and lasting insolence, the one permanent thing he 
had gained and that was truly valid, would be drilled 
through, and, if he were ever made afraid, shattered. 

He did not think in any abstractions, but in deals, 
in sales, in transfers and in gifts. He thought in 
shares, in bales, in thousands of bushels, in options, 
holding companies, trusts, and subsidiary corpora¬ 
tions, and as he went over it he knew they had plenty, 
enough so he would have no peace for years. If they 
would not compromise it would be very bad. In the 
old days he would not have worried, but the fighting 
part of him was tired now, along with the other part, 
and he was alone in all of this now and he lay on the 
big, wide, old bed and could neither read nor sleep. 

His wife had divorced him ten years before after 
twenty years of keeping up appearances, and he had 
never missed her nor had he ever loved her. He had 
Started with her money and she had borne him two 
male children, both of whom, like their mother, 
were fools. He had treated her well until the money 



he had made was double her original capital and 
then he could afford to take no notice of her. After 
his money had reached that point he had never 
been annoyed by her sick headaches, by her com 
plamts, or by her plans. He had ignored them. 

He had been admirably endowed for a speculative 
career because he had possessed extraordinary sexual 
vitality which gave him the confidence to gamble 
well; common sense, an excellent mathematical 
brain, a permanent but controlled scepticism- a 
scepticism which was as sensitive to impending 
disaster as an accurate aneroid barometer to 
atmospheric pressure; and a value time sense that 
kept him from trying to hit tops or bottoms. These 
coup ed with a lack of morals, an ability to make 
people like him without ever liking or trusting them 
m return, while at the same time convincing 
dxem warmly and heartily of his friendship; not a 
disinterested friendship, but a friendship so in¬ 
terested m their success that it automatically made 
them accomplices; and an incapacity for either 
remorse or pity, had carried him to where he was 
now. And where he was now was lying in a pair of 
striped silk pyjamas that covered his shrunken old 
man s chest, his bloated little belly, his now useless and 
disproportionately large equipment that had once 

W hls P nde > and hls small flabby legs, lying on a 
bed unable to sleep because he finally had remorse. 

a nit** 8 remorse w 88 to *ink if only he had not been 
quite so smart five years ago. He could have paid 



the taxes then without any juggling, and if he harl 
only done so he would be all right now. So he lay 
thinking of that and finally he slept; but because 
remorse had once found the crack and begun to 
seep in, he did not know he slept because his brain 
kept on as it had while he was awake. So there 
would be no rest and, at his age, it would not take 
so long for that to get him. 

He used to say that only suckers worried and he 
would keep from worrying now until he could notsleep. 
He might keep from it until he slept, but then it would 
come in, and since he was this old its task, was easy. 

He would not need to worry about what he had 
done to other people, nor what had happened to 
them due to him, nor how they’d ended; who’d 
moved from houses on the Lake Shore drive to 
taking boarders out in Austin, whose debutante 
daughters now were dentists’ assistants when they 
had a job; who ended up a night watchman at 
sixty-three after that last corner; who shot himself 
early one morning before breakfast and which one 
of his children found him, and what the mess 
looked like; who now rode on the L to work, 
when there was work, from Berwyn, trying to sell, 
first, bonds; then motor cars; then house-to-housing 
novelties and specialties (we don’t want no 
pedlars, get out of here, the door slammed in his 
face), until he varied the leaning drop his father 
• made from forty-two floors up, with no rush of 
plumes as when an eagle falls, to a step forward 



on to the third rail in front of the Aurora-Elgin 
train, his overcoat pocket full of unsaleable combina¬ 
tion eggbeaters and fruit juice extractors. Just let 
me demonstrate it, madame. You attach it here, screw 
down on this little gadget here. Mow watch. No, I don’t 
want it. Just try one. I don’t want it. Get out. 

So he got out on to the sidewalk with the frame¬ 
houses, the naked yards and the bare catalpa trees 
where no one wanted it or anything else, that led 
down to the Aurora-Elgin tracks. 

Some made the long drop from the apartment or 
the office window; some took it quietly in two-car 
garages with the motor running; some used the 
native tradition of the Colt or Smith and Wesson; 
those well-constructed implements that end insom¬ 
nia, terminate remorse, cure cancer, avoid bank¬ 
ruptcy, and blast an exit from intolerable positions 
by the pressure of a finger; those admirable 
American instruments so easily carried, so sure of 
effect, so well designed to end the American dream 
when it becomes a nightmare, their only drawback 
the mess they leave for relatives to clean up. 

The men he broke made all these various exits 
but that never worried him. Somebody had to lose 
and only suckers worried. 

, No he would not have to think of them nor of the -■ 
by-products of successful speculation. You win; 
somebody's got to lose, and only suckers worry. . -■ * . 

It would be enough for him to think about how 
much it would be better if he had not been quite so 


smart five years ago, and in a little while, at his age, 
the wish to change what can no longer be undone, 
will open up the gap that will let worry in. Only 
suckers worry. But he can knock the worry if he 
takes a Scotch and soda. The hell with what the 
doctor said. So he rings for one and the steward 
comes sleepily, and as he drinks it, the speculator is 
not a sucker now; except for death. 

While on the next yacht beyond, a pleasant, dull 
and upright family are asleep. The father’s con¬ 
science is good and he sleeps soundly on his side, a 
clipper ship running before a blow framed above his 
head, the reading light on, a book dropped beside 
the bed. The mother sleeps well and dreams about 
her garden. She is fifty but is a handsome, whole¬ 
some, well-kept woman who looks attractive as she 
sleeps. The daughter dreams about her fiance who 
comes to-morrow on the plane and she stirs in her 
sleep and laughs at something in the dream and 
without waking, raises her knees almost- against her 
chin, curled up like a cat, with curly blonde hair 
and her smooth-skinned pretty face, asleep she 
looks as her mother did when she was a girl. 

They are a happy family and all love each other. 
The father is a man of civic pride and many good 
works, who opposed prohibition, is not bigoted and 
is generous, sympathetic, understanding and almost 
never irritable. The cfew of the yacht are well-paid, 
well-fed and have good quarters. They all think 
highly of the owner and like his wife and daughter. 



The fiance is a Skull and Bones fraternity man, voted 
most likely to succeed, voted most popular, who still 
thinks more of others than of himself and’would be 
too good for anyone except a lovely girl like Frances. 
He is probably a little too good for Frances too, but 
it will be years before Frances realizes this, perhaps- 
and she may never realize it, with luck. The type 
of man who is tapped for Bones is rarely also tapped 
for bed; but with a lovely girl like Frances intention 
counts as much as performance. 

So, anyhow, they all sleep well and where did the 
money come from that they’re all so happy with 
and use so well and gracefully? The money came 
from selling something everybody uses by the 
millions of bottles, which costs three cents a quart 
to make, for a dollar a bottle in the large (pint) 
size, fifty cents in the medium, and a quarter in the 
small. But it’s more economical to buy the large, and 
if you make ten dollars a week the costisjust the same 
to you as though you were a millionaire, and the pro¬ 
duct s really good. It does just what it says it will and 
more besides. Grateful users from all over the world 
keep writing in discovering new uses and old users are 
as loyal to it as Harold Tompkins, the fiance, is to Skull 
and Bones or Stanley Baldwinis to Harrow. Thereare 
no suicides when money’s made that way and every¬ 
one sleeps soundly on the yacht Akira III, master Jon 
Jacobson, crew offourteen, owner and familyaboard. 

P ier four there is a 34-foot yawl-rigged yacht 
with two of the three hundred and twenty-four 



Esthoxdans who are sailing around in different parts 
of the world, in boats between 28 and 36 feet long 
and sending back articles to the Esthonian news¬ 
papers. These articles are very popular in Esthonia 
and bring their authors between a dollar and a 
dollar and thirty cents a column. They take the 
place occupied by the baseball or football news in 
American newspapers and are run under the 
heading of Sagas of Our Intrepid Voyagers. No well- 
run yacht basin in Southern waters is complete 
without at least two sunburned, salt bleached- 
headed Esthonians who are waiting for a cheque 
from their last article. When it comes they will sail 
to another yacht basin and write another saga. 
They are happy too. Almost as happy as the people 
on the Alzira IIL It’s great to be an Intrepid Voyager. 

On the Irydia IV> a professional son-in-law of the 
very rich and his mistress, named Dorothy, the 
wife of that highly paid Hollywood director, John 
Hollis, whose brain is in the process of outlasting his 
liver so that he will end up calling himself a 
communist, to save his soul, his other organs being 
too corroded to attempt to save them, are in bed. 
The son-in-law, big-framed, good looking in a 
poster way, lies on his back snoring, but Dorothy 
Hollis, the director’s wife, is awake and she puts on 
a dressing-gown and, going out on to the deck, 
looks across the dark water of the yacht basin to the 
line the breakwater makes. It is cool on the deck 
and the wind blows her hair and she smooths it 



back from her tanned forehead, and pulling the 
robe tighter around her, her nipples rising in the 
cold, notices the lights of a boat coming along the 
outside of the breakwater. She watches them moving 
steadily and rapidly along and then at the entrance 
to the basin the boat’s searchlight is switched on and 
comes across the water in a sweep that blinds her as 
it passes, picking up the coast-guard pier where it lit 
up the group of men waiting there and the shining 
black of the new ambulance from the funeral home 
which also doubles at funerals as a hearse. 

I suppose it would be better to take some luminol 
Dorothy thought. I must get some sleep. Poor 
Eddy s tight as a tick. It means so much to him 
and he’s so nice, but he gets so tight he goes right 
off to sleep. He’s so sweet. Of course if I married 
him he d be off with someone else, I suppose. He is 
sweet, though. Poor darling, he’s so tight. I hope 
he won’t feel miserable in the morning. I must go 
and set this wave and get some sleep. It looks like 
the devil. I do want to look lovely for him. He is 
sweet. I wish I’d brought a maid. I couldn’t 
though. Not even Bates. I wonder how poor John 
is. Oh, he’s sweet too. I hope he’s better. His poor 
liver. I wish I were there to look after him. I might 
go and get some sleep so I won’t look a fright to¬ 
morrow. Eddie is sweet. So’s John and his poor liver. 
Oh, his poor liver. Eddie is sweet. I wish he hadn’t 
gotten so tight. He’s so big and jolly and marvellous 
and all. Perhaps he won’t get so tight to-morrow. 



She went below and found her way to her cabin, 
and sitting before the mirror commenced brushing 
her hair a hundred strokes. She smiled at herself in 
the mirror as the long bristled brush swept through 
her lovely hair. Eddie is sweet. Yes, he is. I wish 
he hadn’t gotten so tight. Men all have something 
that way. Look at John’s liver. Of course you can’t 
look at it. It must look dreadful really. I’m glad 
you can’t see it. Nothing about a man’s really ugly 
though. It’s funny how they think it is though. 
I suppose a liver though. Or kidneys. Kidneys en 
brochette. How many kidneys are there? There’s 
two of nearly everything except stomach and heart. 
And brain of course. There. That’s a hundred strokes. 
I love to brush my hair. It’s almost the only thing you 
do that’s good for you that’s fun. I mean by yourself. 
Oh, Eddie is sweet. Suppose I just went in there. 
No, he is too tight. Poor boy. I’ll take the luminol. 

She looked at herself in the mirror. She was 
extraordinarily pretty, with a small, very fine 
figure. Oh, I’ll do, she thought. Some of it isn’t 
as good as some of the rest of it, but I’ll do for a 
while yet. You do have to have sleep though. 
I love to sleep. I wish I could get just one good 
natural real sleep the way we slept when we were 
kids. I suppose that’s the thing about growing up 
and marrying and having children and then drink¬ 
ing too much and then doing all the things you 
shouldn’t. If you could sleep well I don’t think 
any of it would be bad for you. Except drinking 



too much I suppose. Poor John and his liver and 
Eddie. Eddie is darling, anyway. He is cute. I’d 
better take the luminol. 

She made a face at herself in the glass. 

‘You’d better take the luminol,’ she said in a 
whisper. She took the luminol with a glass of water 
from the chromium-plated thermos carafe that was 
on the locker by the bed. 

It makes you nervous, she thought. But you have 
to sleep. I wonder how Eddie would be if we were 
married. He would be running around with some 
one younger I suppose. I suppose they can’t help 
the way they’re built any more than we can. I just 
want a lot of it and I feel so line, and being someone 
else or someone new doesn’t really mean a thing. 
It’s just it itself, and you would love them always if 
they gave it to you. The same one I mean. But 
they aren’t built that way. They want someone 
new, or someone younger, or someone that they 
shouldn’t have, or someone that looks like gome- 
one else. Or if you’re dark they want a blonde. 
Or if you’re blonde they go for a redhead. Or if 
you re a redhead then it’s something else. A Jewish 
girl I guess, and if they’ve had really enough they 
want Chinese or what do you call thems or goodness 
knows what. I don’t know. Or they just get 
tired, I suppose. You can’t blame them if that’s 
toe way they are and I can’t help it John has 
drunk so much he isn’t any good. He was good. 
He was marvellous. He was. He really was. And 



Eddie is. But now he’s tight. I suppose Ill end up 
a bitch. Maybe I’m one now. I suppose you never 
know when you get to be one. Only her best friends 
would tell her. You don’t read it in Mr. WinchelL 
That would be a good new thing for him to 
announce., Bitch-hood. Mrs. John Hollis canined 
into town from the coast. Better than babies. 
More common I guess. But women have a bad time 
really. The better you treat a man and the more 
you show him you love him the quicker he gets 
tired of you. I suppose the good ones are made to 
have a lot of wives but it’s awfully wearing trying 
to be a lot of wives yourself, and then someone 
simple takes him when he’s tired of that. I suppose 
we all end up as bitches but whose fault is it? 
The bitches have the most fun but you have to be 
awfully stupid really to be a good one. Like Helene 
Bradley. Stupid and well-intentioned and really 
selfish to be a good one. Probably I’m one already. 
They say ydu can’t tell and that you always think 
you’re not. There must be men who don’t get tired 
of you or of it. There must be. But who has them? 
The ones we know are all brought up wrong. 
Let’s not go into that now. No, not into that. 
Nor back to all those cars and all those dances. 
I wish that luminol would work. Damn Eddie, 
really. He shouldn’t have really gotten so tight. It 
isn’t fair, really. No one can help the way they’re 
built but getting tight has nothing to do with that. 
I suppose I am a bitch all right, but if I lie here now 



ail night and can’t sleep I’ll go crazy and if I take 
too much of that damned stuff I’ll feel awful all day 
to-morrow and then sometimes it won’t put you to 
sleep and anyway I’ll be cross and nervous and feel 
frightful. Oh, well, I might as well. I hate to but 
what can you do? What can you do but go ahead 
and do it even though, even though, even anyway, 
oh, he is sweet, no he isn’t, I’m sweet, yes you are’ 
you’re lovely, oh, you’re so lovely, yes, lovely, and 
I didn’t want to, but I am, now I am really, he is 
sweet, no he’s not, he’s not even here, I’m here, 
I’m always here and I’m the one that cannot go 
away, no, never. You sweet one. You lovely. 
Yes you are. You lovely, lovely, lovely. Oh, yesj 
lovely. And you’re me. So that’s it. So that’s the 
way it is. So what about it always now and over 
now. All over now. All right. I don’t care. What 
difference does it make? It isn’t wrong if I don’t 
feel badly. And I don’t. I just feel sleepy now and 
if I wake I’ll do it again before I’m really awake. 

She went to sleep then, remembering, just before 
she was finally asleep, to turn on her side so that her 
face did not rest on the pillow. She remembered, no 
matter how sleepy, how terribly bad it is for the face 
to sleep that way, resting on the pillow. 

There were two other yachts in the harbour but 
everyone was asleep on them, too, when the coast¬ 
guard boat towed Freddy Wallace’s boat, the 
Queen Conch, into the dark yacht basin and tied up 
alongside the coast-guard pier. 



Harry Morgan knew nothing about it when they 
handed a stretcher down from the pier, and* with 
two men holding it on the deck of the grey-painted 
cutter under a floodlight outside the captain’s cabin, 
two others picked him up from the captain’s bunk 
and moved unsteadily out to ease him on to the 
stretcher. He had been unconscious since the early 
evening and his big body sagged the canvas of the 
stretcher deeply as the four men lifted it up toward 
the pier. 

‘Up with it now.’ 

c Hold his legs. Don’t let him slip. 5 
‘Up with it.’ 

' They got the stretcher on to the pier. 

‘How is he, Doctor? 5 asked the sheriff as the men 
shoved the stretcher into the ambulance. 

‘He’s alive, 5 said the doctor. ‘That’s all you can 
say. 5 

‘He’s been out of his head or unconscious ever 
since we picked him up, 5 the boatswain’s mate 
commanding the coast-guard cutter said. He was 
a short chunky man with glasses that shone in the 
"floodlight. /He needed a shave. ‘All your Cuban 
stiffs are back in the launch. We left everything 
like it was. We didn’t touch anything. We just 
put the two.down that might have gone overboard. 

Q, 241 


Everything’s just like it was. The money and thf» 
guns. Everything.’ 

Come on,’ said the sheriff. ‘Can you run a floor! 
light back there?’ 

‘I’ll have them plug one in on the dock,’ the 
dockmaster said. He went off to get the light and 
the cord. 

Come on, said the sheriff. They went astern with 
flashlights. ‘I want you to show me exactly how 
you found them. Where’s the money?’ 

‘In those two bags.’ 

‘How much is there?’ 

T don’t know. I opened one up and saw it was 
the money and shut it up. I didn’t want to touch it ’ 
‘That’s right,’ said the sheriff. ‘That’s exactly 
right.’ 1 

Everything’s just like it was except we put two 
of the stiffs off the tanks down into the cockpit so 
they wouldn’t roll overboard, and we carried that 
big ox of a Harry aboard and put him in my bunk. 
I figured him to pass out before we got him in. 
He’s in a hell of a shape.’ 

‘He’s been unconscious all the time?’ 

‘He was out of his head at first,’ said the skipper. 
But you couldn’t make out what he was saying. 
We listened to a lot of it but it didn’t make sense. 
Then he got unconscious. There’s your layout. 
Just like it was only that ndggery looking one on his 
side is laying where Harry lay. He was on the 
bench over the starboard tank hanging over the 

242 ■ 


coaming and the other dark one by the side of him 
was on the other bench, the port side, hunched over 
on his face. Watch out. Don’t light any matches. 
She’s full of gas.’ 

‘There ought to be another body,’ said the 

‘That’s all there was. The money’s in those bags. 
The guns are right where they were.’ 

‘We better have somebody from the bank to see 
the money opened,’ said the sheriff. 

‘O.K.,’ said the skipper. ‘That’s a good idea.’ 

‘We can take the bags to my office and seal it.’ 

‘That’s a good idea,’ said the skipper. 

Under the floodlight the green and white of the 
launch had a freshly shiny look. This came from 
the dew on her deck and on the top of the house. 
The splinterings showed fresh through her white 
paint. Astern of her the water was a clear green 
under the light and there were small fish about the 

In the cockpit the inflated faces of the dead men 
were shiny under the light, lacquered brown where 
the blood had dried. There were empty *45 calibre 
shells in the cockpit around the dead and the 
Thompson gun lay in the stern where Harry had 
put it down. The two leather briefcases the men 
had brought the money aboard in leaned against 
one of the gas tanks. 

/ ‘I thought maybe I ought to take the money on 
board while we were towing her,’ the skipper said. 



‘Then I thought it was better to leave it just exactly 
like it was so long as the weather was light.’ J 

‘It was right to leave it,’ the sheriff said. ‘What’s 
become of the other man, Albert Tracy, the fisher¬ 

‘I don’t know. This is just how it was except for 
shifting those two,’ the skipper said. ‘They’re all 
shot to pieces except that one there under the wheel 
laying on his back. He’s just shot in the back of the 
head. It came out through the front. You can see 
what it did.’ 

‘He’s the one that looked like a kid,’ the sheriff 

‘He don’t look like anything now,’ the skipper said. 

‘That big one there is the one had the sub¬ 
machine gun and who killed attorney Robert 
Simmons,’ the sheriff said. ‘What do you suppose 
happened? How the devil did they all get shot?’ 

‘They must have got fighting among themselves,’ 
the skipper said. ‘They must have had a dispute 
on how to split the money.’ 

‘We’ll cover them up until morning,’ the sheriff 
said. ‘I’ll take those bags.’ 

Then, as they were standing there in the cockpit, 
a woman came running up the pier past the coast¬ 
guard cutter, and behind her came the crowd. 
The woman was gaunt, middle-aged and bare¬ 
headed, and her stringy hair had come undone 
^nd was down on her neck although it was still 
knotted at the end. As she saw the bodies in the 



cockpit she commenced to scream. She stood on the 
pier screaming with her head back while two other 
women held her arms. The crowd, which had come 
close behind her, formed around her, jostled close, 
looking down at the launch. 

‘God damn it/ said the sheriff. ‘Who left that 
gate open? Get something to cover those bodies; 
blankets, sheets, anything, and well get this crowd 
out of here. 5 

The woman stopped screaming and looked down 
into the launch, then put back her head and 
screamed again. 

‘Where they got him? 5 said one of the women near 

‘Where they put Albert? 5 

The woman who was screaming stopped it and 
looked in the launch again. 

‘He ain’t there, 5 she said. ‘Hey, you, Roger 
Johnson, 5 she shouted at the sheriff. ‘Where’s 
Albert? Where’s Albert? 5 

‘He isn’t on board, Mrs. Tracy, 5 the sheriff said. 
The woman put her head back and screamed again, 
the chords in her scrawny throat rigid, her hands 
clenched, her hair shaking. 

In the back of the crowd people were shoving 
and elbowing to get on to the dock side. 

‘Come on. Let somebody else see. 5 ■ 

‘They’re going to cover them up. 5 

And in Spanish, ‘Let me pass. Let me look. Hay 
cuatro mwrtos. Todos son muertos. Let me see. 5 



Now the woman was screaming, ‘Albert! Alberti 
Oh, my God, where’s Albert?’ Mrt v 

In the back of the crowd two young Cubans who 
had just come up and who could not penetrate the 
crowd stepped back, then ran and shoved forward 
together The front line of the crowd swayed and 
bulged, then, m the middle of a scream, Mrs. Tracy 
and her two supporters toppled, hung slanted 
forward m desperate unbalance and then, while he 
supporters wi dly hung to safety, Mrs. Tracy shl 
screaming, fell into the green water, the scream 
becoming a splash and bubble. 

Two coast-guard men dived into the clear green 

Tight W tZ C f rS 'J? Cy T SpJashin S in thc flood- 

shoved a h bJrT ff , leanCd ? Ut ° n the stern and 
froTt? b 1 h °u k ° Ut t0 her > and finall y 5 raised 
k Vt 0W by , the , tw ° ooast-guardsmen; pulled 
up by the arms by the sheriff, she was hoisted on to 
the stem of the launch. No one in the crowd had 
made a move to aid her, and, as she stood dripping 

££ T* Sh ^T ked V P at them > shook both P he? 
as she Sr/" d Sh T ted> <Basards! Kshes!’ Then 

cockpit she wailed ’ <Alber - 

taWnn°I hi b ri d ’ MrS ‘ Tracy ’’ the sheriff said, 

Sh? Mr, T b an m° put arOUnd her - <Tr r to be 
calm, Mrs. Tracy. Try to be brave.’ 

teeth J teeth ’’ Said MrS - Tracy tra gically. ‘Losht my 

We 11 dive them up m the morning,’ the skipper of 
.. 246 • 


the coast-guard cutter told her. ‘We’ll get them all 

The coast-guard men had climbed up on the 
stern and were standing dripping. ‘Come on. Let’s 
go,’ one of them said. ‘I’m getting cold.’ 

‘Are you all right, Mrs. Tracy?’ the sheriff said, 
putting the blanket around her. 

‘All rie?’ said Mrs. Tracy. ‘All rie?’ then clenched 
both her hands and put her head back to really 
scream. Mrs. Tracy’s grief was greater than she 
could bear. 

The crowd listened to her and was silent and 
respectful. Mrs. Tracy provided just the sound 
effect that was needed to go with the sight of the 
dead bandits that were now being covered with 
coast-guard blankets by the sheriff and one of the 
deputies, thus veiling the greatest sight the town had 
seen since the Isleno had been lynched, years 
before, out on the County Road and then hung up to 
swing from a telephone pole in the lights of all the 
cars that had come out to see it. 

The crowd was disappointed when the bodies 
were covered but they alone of all the town had 
seen them. They had seen Mrs. Tracy fall into the 
water and they had, before they came in, seen 
Harry Morgan carried on a stretcher into the 
Marine Hospital. When the sheriff ordered them 
out of the yacht basin they went quietly and 
happily. They knew how privileged they had 


one of the girls 

‘I’m praying for 
sat there, biting 


Meanwhile at the Marine Hospital Harrv 
Morgan’s wife, Marie, and her three daughters 
waited on a bench in the receiving room. The three 
girls were crying and Marie was biting on a hand- 

noon ief ShC hadn t bCCn ablC 10 Cry sinCC about 
‘Daddy’s shot in the stomach 
said to her sister. 

‘It’s terrible,’ said the sister. 

Be quiet,’ said the elder sister, 
him. Don’t interrupt me.’ 

Marie said nothing and only slu ui 
on a handkerchief and on her lower lip. 

After a while the doctor came out. She looked at 
mm and he shook his head. 

‘Can I go in?’ she asked. 

‘Not yet,’ he said. She went over to him. ‘Is he 
gone?’ she said. 

^1 m afraid so, Mrs. Morgan.’ 

‘Can I go in and see him?’ 

Not yet. He’s in the operating room.’ 

Oh, Christ,’ said Marie. ‘Oh, Christ. I’ll take 
the girls home. Then I’ll be back.’ 

Her throat suddenly was swollen hard and shut 

so she could, not swallow* 

, ,; C0m f,° n ’ you S irIs >’ she sa id- The three girls 
followed her out to the old car where she got into 
the driver s seat and started the engine. 

^How s Daddy?* one of the girls asked. 

Marie did not answer. 



‘How’s Daddy, Mother?’ 

‘Don’t talk to me,’ Marie said. ‘Just don’t talk 
to me.’ 

‘But . . 

‘Shut up, Honey,’ said Marie. ‘Just shut up and 
pray for him.’ The girls began to cry again. 

‘Damn it,’ said Marie. ‘Don’t cry like that. I said 
pray for him.’ 

‘We will,’ said one of the girls. T haven’t stopped 
since we were at the hospital.’ 

As they turned on to the worn white coral of the 
Rocky Road the headlight of the car showed a man 
walking unsteadily along ahead of them. 

‘Some poor rummy,’ thought Marie. ‘Some poor 
goddamned rummy.’ 

They passed the man, who had blood on his face, 
and who kept on unsteadily in the dark after the 
lights of the car had gone on up the street. It was 
Richard Gordon on his way home. 

At the door of the house Marie stopped the car. 

‘Go to bed, you girls,’she said. ‘Go on up to bed.’ 

‘But what about Daddy?’ one of the girls asked. 

‘Don’t you talk to me,’ Marie said. ‘For Christ 
sake, please don’t speak to me.’ 

She turned the car in' the road and started back 
toward the hospital.: 

Back at the hospital Marie Morgan climbed the 
steps in a rush. The doctor met her on the porch 



as he came out through the screen door. He w* 
tired and on his way home. Was 

£ He’s gone, Mrs. Morgan,’ he said 
He’s dead?’ 

He died on the tahle.’ 

‘Can I see him?’ 

,, t ^ lc doctor sa ^- ‘He went very peacefully 
Mrs. Morgan. He was in no pain.’ ^ 

Oh, hell/ said Marie. Tears began to run down 
her cheeks. Oh,’ she said. ‘Oh, oh, oh.’ 

The doctor put his hand on her shoulder 

see him!’ ^ Ma " C SakL Thcn * <][ waa t to 

‘Come on,’ the doctor said. He walked with her 
down a corridor and into the white room where 

bis r Je^ 0 bod a v T1 ° n * whcelcd tabie » a sheet over 
no fSl b dy ^ The hght Was VC1 T bri gbt and cast 

ttr rS t L; s « h ^ g n h e t stood in ,hc d °°™y '«** 

at a11 ’ Mrs - MorRan -’ 
said^ Marie did not seem to hear him. 

W« < &£dM£. beg “ “ 


I don’t know, Marie Morgan was thinking, sitting 
at the dining-room table, I can take it just a day 
at a time and a night at a time, and maybe it gets 
different. It’s, the goddamned nights. If I cared 
about those girls it would be different. But I don’t 
care about those girls. I’ve got to do something 
about them though. I’ve got to get started on some¬ 
thing. Maybe you get over being dead inside. 
I guess it .don’t make any difference. I got to start 
to do something anyway. It’s been a week to-day. 
I’m afraid if I think about him on purpose I’ll get 
so I can’t remember how he looks. That was when 
I got that awful panic when I couldn’t remember 
his face. I got to get started doing something no 
matter how I feel. If he’d have left some money 
or if there’d been rewards it would have been better 
but I wouldn’t feel no better. First thing ■' I’ve got 
to do is to try to sell the house. The bastards that 
shot him. Oh, the dirty bastards. That’s the only 
feeling I got. Hate and a hollow feeling. I’m empty 
like a empty house. Well, I got to start to do some¬ 
thing. I should have gone to the funeral. But I 
couldn’t go. I got to start to do something now 
though. Ain’t nobody going to come back any more 
when they’re dead. 

Him, like he was, snotty and strong and quick* 


and like some kind of expensive animal. It W01]If1 
always got me just to wuteh him mow. I 2 J 
lucky all that time to have him. His luck wont 
bad first m Cuba. Then it kept righ worsoT] 
worse until a Cuban killed him. and 

Cubans are bad hick for Conr.hs Pnhnns 

Sit;? fo ; anyb,,dy ' Th<y *» 

? 3; °°- 1 r m< ; mb( ' r th:it f ™<- be took me L 

mdZT WhC n C WaS makhlf ? such good money 


lathed s „ i 

Ihat was the first time I ever made mv hair 
blonde that time there in tin. » “ air 

Prado. ^55 o b r,iIi&“ 

i nd andT w r U ? n V?,? A ^ ****£%* 

tellinEthct '°° k ttrrible ’ but I kept 

52 5? L ‘ f tlu * “ uWn ’‘ malc “ “ M' 

oSie 5? tb ?. ma V wo '‘W go over it with that 

it kfhaTh? ? 1? 7? COtton 0,1 ^ cnd . di PPing 

li the i 2 d ?' S ' Uffin il sort “ f 
'CTT? d steamed sort of, and the combi 

S td ali " ,d 0f ,he “■'<* and th 

22 ^ZlZl^n 4 U * b ?“ dry and 1 

was having dte a? ah IM “ y ChcS * of what 1 
can', make i,Tl' t “‘li s L e r Say ^ jm * “* if >“ 
And finally he said, that’s just as light as I can 
25 a 


make it safely, Madame, and then he shampooed it, 
and put a wave in, and I was afraid to look even 
for fear it would be terrible, and he waved it parted 
on one side and high behind my ears with little 
tight curls in back, and it still wet I couldn’t tell 
how it looked except it looked all changed and I 
looked strange to myself. And he put a net over it 
wet- and put me under the dryer and all the time 
I was scared about it. And that when I come out 
from under the dryer he took the net off and the 
pins out and combed it out and it was just like 

And I came out of the place and saw myself in 
the mirror and it shone so in the sun and was so soft 
and silky when I put my hand and touched it, and I 
couldn’t believe it was me and I was so excited I was 
choked with it. 

I walked down the Prado to the cafe where 
Harry was waiting and I was so excited feeling all 
funny inside, sort of faint like, and he stood up 
when he saw me coming and he couldn’t take his 
eyes off me and his voice was thick and funny when 
he said, ‘Jesus, Marie, you’re beautiful’. 

‘And I said, “You like me blonde?” ’ 

‘Don’t talk about it,’ he said. ‘Let’s go to the 

And I said, ‘O.K., then. Let’s go.’ I was twenty- 
six then. 

And that’s how he always was with me and 
that’s the way I always was about him. He said 



he never had anything like me and I know there 
wasn’t any men like him. I know it too damned well 
and now he’s dead. 

Now I got to get started on something. I know 
I got to. But when you got a man like that and 
some lousy Cuban shoots him you can’t just start 
right out; because everything inside of you is gone. 

I don’t know what to do. It ain’t like when he was 
away on trips. Then he was always coming back 
but now I got to go on the rest of my life. And I’m 
big now and ugly and old and he ain’t here to tell 
me that I ain’t. I’d have to hire a man to do it now 
I guess and then I wouldn’t want him. So that’s 
the way it goes. That’s the way it goes all right. 

And he was so goddamned good to me and 
reliable too, and he always made money some way 
and I never had to worry about money, only about 
him, and now that’s all gone. 

It ain’t what happens to the one gets killed. I 
wouldn’t mind if it was me got killed. With Harry 
at the end there he was just tired, the doctor said. 
He never woke up even. I was glad he died easy 
because Jesus Christ he must have suffered in that 
boat. I wonder if he thought about me or what he 
thought about. I guess like that you don’t think 
about anybody. I guess it must have hurt too bad. 
But finally he was just too tired. I wish to Christ it 
was me was dead. But that ain’t any good to wish. 
Nothing is any good to wish. 

I couldn’t go to the funeral. But people don’t 


understand that. They don’t know how you feel. 
Because good men are scarce. They just don’t have 

them. Nobody knows the way you feel, because 
they don’t know what it’s all about that way. 
I know. I know too well. And if I live now twenty 
years what am I going to do? Nobody’s going to 
tell me that and there ain’t nothing now but take 
it every day, the way it comes and just get started 
doing something right away. That’s what I got to 
do. But Jesus Christ, what do you do at nights is 
what I want to know. 

How do you get through nights if you can’t sleep? 
I guess you find out like you find out how it feels to 
lose your husband. I guess you find out all right. 
I guess you find out everything in this goddamned 
life. I guess you do all right. I guess I’m probably 
finding out right now. You just go dead inside and 
everything is easy. You just get dead like most 
people are most of the time. I guess that’s how it is 
all right. I guess that’s just about what happens 
to you. Well, I’ve got a good start. I’ve got a good 
start if that’s what you have to do. I guess that’s 
what you have to do all right. I guess that’s it. 
I guess that’s what it comes to. All right. I got a 
good start then. I’m way ahead of everybody now. 

Outside it was a lovely, cool, sub-tropical winter 

day and the palm branches were sawing in the light 
north wind. Some winter people rode by the house 
on bicycles. They were laughing. In the big yard 



of the house across the street a peacock squawked. 

Through the window you could see the sea looking 
hard and new and blue in the winter light. 

A large white yacht was coming into the harbour 
and seven miles out on the horizon you could see a 
tanker, small and neat in profile against the blue 
sea, hugging the reef as she made to the westward to 
keep from wasting fuel against the stream.